[05/19/05 - 12:00 AM]
Cartoon Network to Launch Curriculum Designed to Foster Sense of Humor in Preschoolers

[via press release from Cartoon Network]

Cartoon Network to Launch Curriculum Designed to Foster Sense of Humor in Preschoolers

New Harris Interactive� Survey Shows That Most Parents Want Kids to See Sunny, Funny Side of Life

Want to raise healthy kids? Make them laugh. More than nine in 10 (92%) parents say that having a sense of humor will improve their child�s quality of life, according to a recent survey by Harris Interactive�. That�s the goal of the first-ever media-based curriculum designed by Cartoon Network to specifically help preschoolers learn to have a sense of humor about life. Alice Cahn, a leader in children�s programming and veteran of PBS and Sesame Street, developed the new franchise, called Tickle U, with both parents and kids in mind. Tickle U will land on Cartoon Network on Aug. 22, airing weekdays from 9-11 a.m. (ET, PT).

�U.S. television has truly embraced the preschool age group over the last 15 years, but what�s been missing for me, both as a mom and as a TV programmer, was the acknowledgement that humor and optimism indicate intelligence; if you�re not smart enough, you don�t get the joke,� said Alice Cahn, vice president of development and programming for Cartoon Network. �Our review of the research showed that humor is a learned skill: We learn to create it and we learn to appreciate it. The children who learn those skills well are those who are more even-tempered, tend to lash out less verbally and physically, and have an easier time making friends. Tickle U is smart fun, a complement to the cognitive skills base of other pre-K networks, placing value on optimism and humor as essential developmental skills.�

The majority of parents[1] agree that humor is an important component for their children�s development. The recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive� shows that 98 percent of U.S. parents believe that developing a child�s sense of humor is important. While nearly all parents (99 percent) indicate that reading and writing is important, 98 percent indicate that humor is important for their child/children. More than half (60 percent) of parents would like to improve their kid�s sense of humor if given the opportunity.

This light-hearted approach to childhood development is a welcome perspective for today�s stressed-out families, says Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, co-author of Einstein Never Used Flashcards and professor of psychology at Temple University. �Our children are growing up in a fast-paced world today, with little downtime for humor and play. Yet, play equals learning and humor is at the core of play,� says Hirsh-Pasek. �Humor helps our children learn about the world and cope with life�s situations. It provides an optimistic outlook that will stay with them for a lifetime.�

Humor Is an Essential Part of Parenting

Most parents agree that a sense of humor is an important trait for adults (99%) as well as for their children (97%). The majority of parents (82%) also said that humor is very or extremely important in relaxing during life�s challenging times, as well as for developing a healthy self-image (82%) and becoming a well-rounded adult (82%). In addition, many parents surveyed also felt that humor contributed to their child becoming a better student (72%) and an overwhelming majority (95%) thought humor was important for becoming stronger leaders.

Tickle U to Launch This Fall

Tickle U is a new Cartoon Network weekday morning franchise of original and acquired television shows from around the world�such as Peppa Pig, Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto!, and Gerald McBoing Boing�designed specifically for preschool children. Tickle U will focus on developing and nurturing a child�s sense of humor and optimism as essential life skills. The two-hour block also will be packaged within a distinctive, cohesive on-air environment and centered around a collection of funny, animated programs designed to encourage kids to laugh and have an optimistic view of themselves and the world around them.

In a first for kids� cartoons, subtitles speaking directly to caregivers entitled Mommy Bar will appear across the bottom of the screen. The subtitles will encourage co-viewing by providing research on humor and preschoolers packaged as fun commentary for the adults in the room. Cues for show content and length will also be provided; for example, it might be used to let parents know how long a show lasts so they can grab a cup of coffee or finish other activities during the program.

The Tickle U line-up will premiere Monday, Aug. 22. It will air weekdays from 9-11 a.m. (ET, PT).

Survey Methodology

Harris Interactive� fielded the study on behalf of Cartoon Network via its QuickQuerySM online omnibus from March 25-29, 2005, among 2,819 U.S. adults aged 18 and over, of whom 749 were the parent/legal guardian of a child/children under the age of 18 living in their household. Data were weighted to be representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, and race/ethnicity. Propensity score weighting was also used for respondents� propensity to be online.

Though this online sample is not a probability sample, in theory, with probability samples of this size, Harris Interactive estimates with 95 percent certainty that the results for the overall sample have a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Sampling error for the parent results is plus or minus 6 percentage points.

About Harris Interactive�

Harris Interactive Inc. (www.harrisinteractive.com), the 15th-largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world, is a Rochester, N.Y.-based global research company that blends premier strategic consulting with innovative and efficient methods of investigation, analysis and application. Known for The Harris Poll� and for pioneering Internet-based research methods, Harris Interactive conducts proprietary and public research to help its clients achieve clear, material and enduring results.

Harris Interactive combines its intellectual capital, databases and technology to advance market leadership through U.S. offices and wholly owned subsidiaries: London-based HI Europe (www.hieurope.com), Paris-based Novatris (www.novatris.com), Tokyo-based Harris Interactive Japan, through newly acquired WirthlinWorldwide, a Reston, Virginia-based research and consultancy firm ranked 25th largest in the world, and through an independent global network of affiliate market research companies. EOE M/F/D/V

About Cartoon Network

Cartoon Network (CartoonNetwork.com), currently seen in 87.8 million U.S. homes and 160 countries around the world, is Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.�s ad-supported cable service offering the best in original, acquired and classic animated entertainment for kids and families. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, is a major producer of news and entertainment product around the world and the leading provider of programming for the basic cable industry.

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