The Bears of Blueberry Forest wants to ‘Get Kids Social Again.’ Supplied image.
The Bears of Blueberry Forest wants to ‘Get Kids Social Again.’ Supplied image.

Children’s TV series wants to ‘Get Kids Social Again’ and help improve their mental healths

By Karishma Dipa Time of article published Oct 2, 2021

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Johannesburg - Children might have largely not been the face of the novel coronavirus but the global health crisis has wreaked havoc on their mental health.

Even prior to the pandemic, youngsters from across the globe have grown somewhat accustomed to scores of challenges in their everyday lives.

From family, adolescence and their schooling lives, experts have warned that mental health problems that develop unattended in a child’s life could prove to be detrimental, even in their adult years.

In a bid to address the growing mental health issues affecting youngsters, South African children’s book author Deborah McPhilemy wants to create a unique television series The Bears of Blueberry Forest to ‘Get Kids Social Again’.

McPhilemy believes that this educational TV show can be a valuable supplement to what children learn about socialising in school and at home but that the series also aims to develop their emotional intelligence and ensure good mental health.

“The old paradigm of teaching ‘chalk and board style’ is laborious and simply not effective anymore,” the acclaimed author says.

“Children have different learning styles and forcing a child to sit still and stare at a board is the least effective way to teach them. Children like to be involved.”

In order to achieve this mandate, The Bears of Blueberry Forest will teach youngsters through the narratives of the show’s bear characters as they show watching children how to identify, label, understand and express their emotions.

Picture by EPA-EFE/NIC BOTHMA

“There are six characters and the first is Adam who teaches children about the importance of exercise and moving your body while Abby is all about feeling words and what they mean. “Wilson teaches children how to embrace each moment, Molly teaches youngsters about food and healthy eating, Cody is all about diversity, inclusion and the planet and Michael teaches children wisdom and intuition.

“Each of our characters teaches a different fundamental of emotional intelligence which includes mindfulness and happiness and our characters show children what emotions look like and what you can do to alleviate them.”

The show will also teach children how to deal with their emotions through life’s adversities. McPhilemy insists that all those who watch The Bears of Blueberry Forest will be able to take something away from it.

“All children and even adults will benefit greatly from learning to understand themselves, their own behaviour and being able to overcome trauma and develop confidence.”

But in order to put the educational show together, McPhilemy explains that it would cost around R20 million to produce the 52 week series.

She has launched an urgent call for “mini angel investors”.

“Even though we are very open to mainstream investors, we understand that there is always a risk for any investors but by putting a call out for mini angel investors, we completely remove the risk as each investor will receive a reward when they back our project.

“We would also love to get the public involved and right now people are looking for something good that they can focus on and being part of this campaign is not only going to help get these essential life skills to children, it’s also going to make the public feel part of a wonderful project that is going to change a child’s world.”

McPhilemy adds that putting the children’s educational series together now is also of vital importance as she hopes to alleviate the mental distress children faced during the pandemic.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has massively impacted on youngster’s mental healths and their social lives and many children have regressed in a lot of ways during this time.

“They struggle with focus, they have become fearful, and we have reports of children suddenly becoming scared of the dark again and wetting the bed.

“They’ve also become clingy, are struggling with separation anxiety and do not want to leave the house and to them there is this ‘invisible boogie man’ out there that is waiting to make them ill. They feel helpless and hopeless to do anything about it except hide away.”

In order to combat this, McPhilemy believes that The Bears of Blueberry Forest will stress the importance of social skills as the world emerges from an isolated society.

“Social skills are just as important as learning to read or to count because life is about relationships.

“If you don’t have any social skills, then you are going to struggle to have relationships and friendships and if parents want their children to be happy, then they need to know how to be social, have communication skills, and be able to understand themselves and the people in their lives.”

Details of Deborah’s McPhilemy Crowdfunder campaign can be found here.

You can also find out more at the following websites.

http://www.deborahmcphilemy.com/

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