Foundational Trends in Children’s Media

Foundational Trends in Children’s Media

From the Desk of J’net Smith

With Kidscreen’s 2024 Keynote focusing on ‘resiliency’ back in early February, it looks like they are recognizing the importance of Zoonicorn’s primary message.

Many children’s television programs take a practical STEAM-based approach (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics). These fundamentals provide the access point for analysis, problem-solving and critical thinking. Then there are those that tap into social-emotional learning. The five developmental building blocks to social-emotional learning include self-awareness, self-management, social-awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making.

Each of these can be executed with appropriate stories, characters, music and language so that they appeal to a specific target age.

But I know there are foundational skills that are most often overlooked and are essential, albeit critical, to the application of STEAM and social-emotional learning, as well as other developmental stepping stones children need to master.

Just over 8 years ago I was approached by a visionary entrepreneur wanting to create a children’s property based on the foundational elements of persistence, optimism, and resilience.

By applying these traits to children’s media content, children everywhere are positioned to succeed in life.

He felt we need to embrace these skills at an earlier age than they are being introduced at home and in schools. This is where the concept for Zoonicorn came from. At Zoonicorn, we focus on the mission and message of persistence, optimism, and resilience. We introduce this essential framework to our audience of kids ages 2-6 through our fun, sweet and engaging characters.

Persistence, optimism and resilience has always been at the heart of everything Zoonicorn stands for. Now it appears the rest of the children’s media world is starting to catch up to what Zoonicorn has been weaving into its narratives for years. This year’s Kidscreen Summit Keynote was all about resilience.

Life is not always easy, and children need to learn to exercise their resiliency muscles. Resilience is the ability to bounce back and keep going. It’s the ability to cope and withstand difficulties that is critical to a child’s ability to develop into an emotionally healthy adult.

Zoonicorn founder and creator Mark Lubratt has always believed this whole-heartedly. He knows that if we teach these core lessons at a very young age, they will guide and support what a person does for the rest of their life. Our characters show they are learning and discovering.

This connects them to our audience, helping young children understand that learning is something that requires practice, hope and determination.

This doesn’t stop at our Zoonicorn stories. This same thread runs through every part of our brand and brand experience.

Now more than ever, when parents allow screen-time for their little ones, they need to know the shows they choose to let their kids watch are aligned with their families’ needs and the values they are looking to instill. Our design, the look and feel of the characters, the shapes and colors of the entire show, and especially the magical Zooniverse, are all tightly connected to these same foundational skills, further capturing the optimism that we share in the show.

The small, independent team of people that have made the Zoonicorn property and episodes come to life fully embrace this inspiring message of optimism and resilience.

They face the world with the same optimistic attitude as the Zoonicorns. We are practically Zoonicorns ourselves!

For more than eight years, each of us has carefully honed and polished every aspect of the show to make sure it fits with our mission.

From our earliest days, we began to hear anecdotal stories from educators, such as the kindergarten teacher who used an episode of Zoonicorn as a reward; from kids telling us of their sweet dreams taking place within Zooniverse; and from moms telling us of their kids hugging their Zoonicorn plush at bedtime until they are worn and tattered. It is these stories, as they come to us, that are the reward for our hard work.

They are all the proof we need that an idea and a determined bunch of Zoonicorn-like people can make a difference in this world!

Back to blog