Almost two years ago, I wrote a letter to CBeebies. Now, as rumours of BBC cuts hitting my beloved pre-school channel start gathering pace, I thought I’d write another letter.
I want to thank you once again for what you provide. Two years ago I was mostly praising I Can Cook as it was one of our favourite shows, and got M into the kitchen and cooking – more than just pink icing and sprinkles over cupcakes, too! Now though as our school adventure starts, I’m really starting to appreciate all the other stuff that comes with the CBeebies bundle.
Let me start with your website. It’s such a popular choice that it appears on the home screen of my browser, as one of the most visited websites. I am confident I can let M navigate her way through it without having to periodically check she hasn’t strayed onto anything less than savoury (hellloooo, Youtube!). M watches clips from Melody and tells me all about the sights, sounds and feelings of the music she was listening too. She works her way through the increasingly difficult levels of Nina and the Neurons problem solving puzzles, joyously shouting out when she finally figured out a really difficult level. She learns so much about dinosaurs from Andy that she corrects me when I call something a Pterodactyl, saying “actually it’s a Pterosaur, mummy!”. The website is so intuitively designed that M can navigate it with ease, and it naturally directs her to age-appropriate learning games and clips.
Then the apps. I loved the CBeebies app when it first came out – I love it even more now! It is updated just often enough to keep the interest there, and little details like collectable bugs, stamps and badges help enthuse young players. The Storytime app is also fantastic! A whole library of stories to read or have read to you, with interactive elements that entertain both my 2 year old and nearly 5 year old.
That’s all aside from the channel itself. CBeebies is there at 6.00am when I am up with a hungry toddler, who was also up in the night several times teething. It’s there at the end of the day when tired children need to flop and watch something soothing before dinner is ready (how I love Abney and Teal!). It’s there on lazy weekend mornings when we all squash into one bed and watch Postman Pat and Q Pootle 5 while eating toast and drinking tea. It’s there ALL DAY when children are poorly and just want to snuggle up under a duvet and watch something familiar and comforting.
And I love how it’s both entertaining and improving! Sure, some shows are just there for fun (I’m not convinced my children have ever learned anything from Peter Rabbit, unless it’s not to trust handsomely-dressed foxes or fly a home-made kite/glider in a storm), but many, many, of the shows are just perfect for my children. E learns familiarity with numbers from Numtums, while M can watch the same show and do the maths herself. They copy Squiglet and draw things they have never attempted before. The phonics of Alphablocks, the messy fun of Mr Maker, the amazing array of singing, dancing and music on ZingZillas. Everything inspires and I find myself drawn into the shows as much as the children!
So, thank you CBeebies! Thank for you providing for my children from baby to schoolgirl. And please, please do not be pressurised into cutting the budget from this wonderful service!
Yours, one grateful mum and satisfied customer.