Meet Dr. Natascha Crandall: Zoonicorn's Educational Curriculum Consultant

Meet Dr. Natascha Crandall: Zoonicorn's Educational Curriculum Consultant

Preschoolers watching Zoonicorn are enchanted by the many wonderful moments of discovery they find in the delightful characters, the engaging stories and, of course, the magical Zooniverse itself. But while young children are having fun watching, they are also learning, even if they are not aware of it.

This is where Zoonicorn Educational Consultant Dr. Natascha Crandall comes in. Working with showrunner Mark Zaslove, the writing team and the director, Natascha is responsible for ensuring that these learning moments come alive. Natascha makes sure the life lessons so subtly woven into each episode are age-appropriate, that the characters represent good modeling and, most importantly, that they are based on developmentally appropriate teaching methods that help our young viewers begin to recognize and process social emotional learning.

“It’s such an enormous responsibility to work on content for children this age,” says Natascha. “These kids are sponges. They are absorbing new ideas all the time, imprinted by everything they see and experience. Even if we don’t intend for a particular scene to be learning based, kids often still take a learning moment away from it. We need to be constantly mindful that every moment of the show is a learning moment.”

With a focus on optimism, persistence and resilience, Zoonicorn helps young viewers recognize they are capable of doing amazing things. The key to success, says Natascha, is for these ideas to come organically from the characters themselves, within the flow of the stories.

Zoonicorn treats the curriculum as the backbone of the show, building the stories around it,” Natascha adds. “This way, we start with a foundation so that the characters, dialogue and lessons feel natural, rather than being tacked on. Our Zoonicorns aren’t superheroes. They are discovering and growing, and sometimes struggling, just like the children watching. This authenticity is a big part of the appeal for our preschool audience, as well as for parents, who we are finding are equally charmed by the Zoonicorns.”

Before starting her own company, Crandall Consulting, eleven years ago, Natascha had built a long record of achievement in children’s television, including senior positions at Sesame Workshop and Nickelodeon. Her deep insights and unique understanding of how young children process information, and her precise and meticulous approach to the content itself, help make Zoonicorn a series that effectively supports learning development in young children, while it entertains and delights those viewers!

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