Educational Values & Learning Summary
The Iconicles offers younger children a great deal in terms of educational content and experience. Switching focus from the ‘real’ world of Nat’s workshop to the ‘imaginary’ world the Iconicles inhabit promotes and encourages imaginative thinking in a way that should appeal to a wide audience – both girls and boys. These worlds are brought together when Nat invites an Iconicle to cross over into his world, so the emotional appeal of this is obvious – children love to create their own worlds, imagine their favourite toys ‘coming alive’ and generating self-directed play. Therefore the show, on a wider level, helps to model desirable imaginative play behaviours.
As a consequence, younger children can enjoy and acquire a range of language and communications skills, including creating narrative-based ‘speech’, inventing stories and exploring ideas connected with characters – based on the Iconicles or with their own toys. The content in the show is consistently reliable for modelling ways to interact with others, learning to take turns in conversation, promoting comment, asking questions and responding to questions and maybe above all helping children to organise, sequence and clarify their thinking or feelings.
Social values are also a strong merit of the show. It is very important for younger children to acquire strong and positive social attitudes – the way they do this is done largely through observation of others – peers and adults. Nat’s friendly ‘can do’ enthusiasm for learning and finding out new things is always shared with others – his Iconicles friends and, clearly, us. We should not underestimate how motivating it is for children to notice this attitude – it encourages them to adopt these attitudes in personal learning contexts, share and be comfortable learning new things with others. The series models a range of desirable behaviours and attitudes, especially encouraging an interest in learning, the confidence to try new activities, initiating ideas, working with others and recognising codes of behaviour for groups of people. In particular children should develop a stronger sense of how to form strong relationships with peers and adults as well as a developing sense of their own needs and those of others.
A third learning strand in focussed on finding out knowledge about our world. Nat’s workshop presents a range of activities, content and ideas to inspire and generate new understandings. We discover features about the world we live in, learn about materials, and how these work, as well as observing appropriate skills for investigating and experimenting with these. Furthermore the Games that Nat plays on the Iconiscreen foster strong observational skills as he asks questions about the animated story segments shown earlier in the episode.
- Brian Neish, Educational Consultant for Children’s Television