Today, in a world surrounded by digital media, parents are keen to find fresh ways to divert their children’s attention away from screens. I’m sure it’s not alarming to know a recent study by the Australian Institute of Family Studies found the majority of Australian children are spending more than the recommended 2-hour daily limit on-screen entertainment.
As a fresh and fun way for children and parents to spend their day, the ABC has launched ABC Kids Listen. With a wonderful selection of music and stories, it will help children develop their listening and creative skills and expand their imagination.
The ABC programming allows children to draw pictures in their minds and use their imagination to see the characters, colours and faces from the stories they listen to. The stories that have character building themes will help children learn valuable life lessons like cooperation, sportsmanship, sharing, showing love, caring and more.
ABC Kids Listen provides children ages 0-5 and their families with a safe space to access trusted, educational and entertaining audio programs that feature music and stories from their favourite ABC Kids characters.
It is well known that children with well-developed listening skills are more productive, are better problem solvers, and will grow to have healthier interpersonal relationships. Listening and attention skills are vital in building a child’s cognitive, behavioural and affective aspects of developing strong social skills.
It’s great to know that ABC KIDS listen is aligned with the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia, the National Early Childhood Curriculum for childhood educators, that encourages children to learn through play. ABC KIDS Listen aims to enhance learning, imagination, cognitive and physical activity, creativity and family experiences, which will assist parents and caregivers to bridge the gap between home and child-care.
We’ve been lucky enough to have a chat with the team at ABC Kids Listen, here’s what they had to say:
- Tell us, what has prompted the ABC to launch ABC Kids Listen?
We wanted to provide more options for children and their busy parents to engage with quality content from the ABC. ABC radio has a long track record in providing audio for children (such as Kindergarten of the Air and the Argonauts from the 40-80s) and advances in digital radio and online streaming allowed meant we now the technical capacity to revisit and reimagine and audio service for children and provide safe, trusted, educational content to suit their changing needs.
- In this digital age, the daily habits of preschoolers involve a great deal of screen time. What incentives will ABC Kids Listen to offer children to divert their attention?
Wonderful music and stories, and audio that activates the imagination! When we trialled the service we found it increased independent playtime and helped children wind down. We definitely found listening through speakers (ie hooking up to stereo or via Bluetooth) really helped with this.
We have an amazing, trusted, quality ABC KIDS TV service of course, and we are leveraging this to create a complementary radio service to give more options to engage with ABC KIDS content, however, families would like to spend their day.
- We understand that ABC KIDS listen is aligned with the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia and the national early childhood curriculum. Can you tell us a little more about how early childhood educators and parents alike can integrate listening into their day?
Yes, we studied the EYLF thoroughly and consulted with a number of the academics that contributed to it. We also studied all the research we could find on the advantages of audio, music and storytelling for young children, and the value of children learning to listen.
Our programs are specifically aligned to key aspects of childhood development – Singing (Sing Along), Physical movement (Shake and Move), Imagination (Let’s Pretend), Concentration (Storytime), and lots of programs to help children learn about the world around them and their place in it (such as Let’s Explore).
We also have Quiet Time and Dream Time that are curated by Classic FM as we know classical music is both calms and activates the mind. We have also commissioned special ‘Sleep Through’ soundtracks of ambient sounds and field recordings from the Sonic Arts department of UNSW who have followed specific theories on creating soundscapes for sleep.
We also have a Daily Acknowledgement of Country for preschoolers that we worked on with Reconciliation Australia that we hope will complement early education centres’ own Reconciliation Action Plans. And ABC presenters such as Kumi Taguchi who teach words in their family languages such as Japanese, Cantonese, Spanish and Hindi which teaches children about culture and identity.
- Will ABC Kids Listen provide a range of options for listeners to tune in? If so, what are they and how can we access them?
Absolutely! If you live in a capital city and have a DAB+ radio or a DAB+ car converter (both of which are which are now relatively inexpensive) you can broadcast our station by looking for ‘ABC KIDS listen’.
Otherwise, our live stream is available on the ABC KIDS listen mobile app (Apple and Android) where you can also find all our programs on demand. If you want to save bandwidth in the car or out and about you can download the programs with the app over wifi to listen to for seven days without using mobile data.
You can also find the live stream and programs on our website abc.net.au/kidslisten and our stream is also now on TuneIn which means it should be available via Sonos and Google Homes/Chromecast in the next few weeks.
- Will this radio station have any well-known Hosts?
We have Wiggles! Jimmy Giggle! And lots of Play School hosts such as Zindi, Karen, Alex, and Rachel to help guide children through the day with an intro to songs and fun activities. Emma Wiggle is particularly soothing and calming our ‘Lullabies’ program, likewise, Lachy Wiggle adds a particular brightness to ‘Good Morning’.
We also have included children’s voices where we can so children know it is a service for them. We’ll continue to work with the ABC family of hosts and presenters so our station and app will always represent the ‘sound’ of ABC KIDS.
Download the app now: ABC Kids Listen