New Original Preschool TV Series & Game Launches on Hopster TV
Date Posted: April 1, 2019
Hopster, the BAFTA-nominated preschool learning and entertainment platform, has launched Saturday Club a new original animation series.
Created and developed by children’s media company, Dog Ears, and with funding from Northern Ireland Screen, the preschool show is designed to nurture empathy in young children.
Saturday Club follows the adventures of four friends – Tian, Jo, Suzie and Jamie – who meet in a play den each Saturday to discuss their week and play make-believe.
Each of the 6 x 3 minute episodes introduces a situation where pre-schoolers have to put themselves in others’ shoes in order to better understand them.
Children can learn to recognise and imagine various emotions and are invited to think about how others feel.
Saturday Club Episode Synopsis (6 x 3min)
- Grumpy Neighbours: Jamie can’t understand why his neighbour, old Mr Johnston, is so grumpy and why he took his football. Can the gang help him to see things from Mr Johnston’s point of view?
- One Small Step for Jo: It takes 6 months for an Astronaut to get to Mars! Jamie, Suzy and Tian would love to have an adventure in space but Jo’s not so sure…
- The Princess Rulebook: Suzy does not like Jo’s princess rulebook at all, there are far too many rules and stereotypes. Suzy decides to throw out the rulebook and do things her way…
- Tian’s Pencils: Tian likes to work by himself in art class, but Granda helps him see the brilliant things you can make when you work as a team…
- Little Birdie Caw Caw: Tian has a new pet beetle, Ringo, but Ringo doesn’t seem too happy. Granda tells them the heartwarming story of his first pet, Little Birdie Caw Caw, who flew away to be with her friends.
- Noisy Babies: Jo loves her baby doll, but babies are so noisy and keep the gang awake at night! When you think about it, maybe being a baby isn’t so easy after all…
Miki Chojnacka, Chief Content and Creative Executive of Hopster said: “At Hopster we believe that good entertainment should always teach kids something new. While academic skills are important, we think that children’s socio-emotional growth is often overlooked. So we decided to partner with Dog Ears to create a preschool show and accompanying game that nurture kids’ emotional intelligence and encourages them to consider the feelings of others.”
John McDaid, Creative Director at Dog Ears said: “We’ve always written empathy into our stories, but we thought ‘Let’s make an entire show about empathy!’ – A show about stepping into someone else’s shoes and how that can change your view of the world for the better. The power of empathy, particularly in the development of young children, is something I’ve been fascinated with for a long time. Watching my own children and how they respond and empathise with others was the catalyst for Saturday Club.”
Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Screen, said: “Northern Ireland Screen was delighted to provide development funding to Dog Ears for the creation of Saturday Club. Dog Ears is a prominent member of our thriving animation sector and its team has a great reputation for working alongside major global names in children’s programming. Saturday Club is an exciting and unique concept and we are really looking forward to seeing the end result.”
Accompanying the new animation, Hopster has created a Saturday Club game that helps children further explore feelings and emotions with the help of the Saturday Club characters. Developed with the support of EmpathyLab, a UK not-for-profit organisation that inspires children to put empathy into action and is the founder of Empathy Day. The game draws on experiences from EmpathyLab’s primary school programme, which is designed to build real-life empathy skills in the classroom.
Initially exclusively available from the App Store, the Hopster Saturday Club: Empathy game lets kids match emotions to expressions, create fun expressions and track their feelings with an emotions calendar.
Saturday Club, the animation, is available worldwide from today. It can be found on the Hopster mobile app and on the Hopster channel available on selected smart TVs such as Amazon Fire TV, EE TV and Roku in the UK, Comcast Xfinity, DISH and Sling TV in the US and on many other platforms around the world.
The series is directed by John McDaid (Puffin Rock) and Robin Davey (Hey Duggee) with Ellen Solberg (Two Minute Tales) and Fionnuala Deane serving as executive producers. The series has been commissioned for 6 x 3’ shorts and launches on 1st April 2019.