"Knowledge is power - BELIEVE IT!"
Decode Entertainment was very proud to engage Dr. Heather Knoepfli
as a child care specialist on development and production of the
Save Ums television scripts and the Save Ums Small is Powerful Interactive
Games scripts. Dr. Knoepfli reviewed all material created by the
writers for this project and provided valuable input to ensure important
life lesson and empowerment themes were carried into the creative
of this preschool property. After we had completed the games, Dr.
Knoepfli invited the Decode Interactive team to focus test our activities
at her Preschool.
Dr. Knoepfli assisted us in the creation of activities that would
bring to the fore the following themes:
Appropriate Motor Skills development; Language & Literacy; Cognitive
Development; Developing Esteem and Confidence; Creative Arts; Learning
about the world around us; Math Readiness & Science;
Self-Help skills such as learning to tie shoes;
Here is a basic overview of some of the guidelines Dr. Knoepfli
set for this project:
action adventure world for preschooler
Save-Ums is an exciting television series for preschool children,
which aims to encourage creative thinking through the use of technology.
The Save-Ums are little Heroes who live on a round island in a place
called Save-Ums Central. Driven to help others, the Save-Ums monitor
their world and will travel to wherever there is a problem
to solve or someone to help. No adventure is too big or too small.
Each adventure begins at Save-Ums Central, the Save-Ums' home. This
is a building filled with domes, bright tubes and all kinds of playthings
that appeal to children. At the beginning of each adventure, the
Save-Ums are shown working, playing, interacting with each other,
or looking after their funny pets called "Puffs". The
objective is to show the Save-Ums in situations that demonstrate
positive relationships, empathy towards others, non-violent problem
solving, cooperative play and an interest to take risks and develop
a "daring attitude toward life".
this picture of the daily life of Save-Ums, the VID-SCREEN at Save-Ums
Central begins to ring and vibrate. This is the signal that someone
'out there' needs help. The 'out there' refers to the five worlds
to which the Save-Ums travel to help someone in need - Winter World,
Monkey World, Moon World, Ocean World, and Cave World. Once the
problem has been identified on the ACTION SCREEN, using a remote
control, a team of Save-Ums, using a fancy piece of technology such
as a Subchopper, adventure out to the site of the problem. For example,
in one adventure, the Save-Ums are asked to help Olena Octopus untie
her shoelaces that have become entangled in her tentacles. When
their technology, the Subchopper's 'Robo-fingers', don't solve the
problem, the Save-Ums develop a new plan. In this case, they get
help from two little crabs who snip the shoelaces. The Save-Ums
then help Olena learn to tie her shoelaces - "one shoe at a
time". Through a team effort, the problem is solved, new friends
are made, and the Save-Ums return to Save-Ums Central, feeling good
about themselves and their success.
Each episode ends with the Save-Ums in unison (or one or two of
them) saying, "BELIEVE IT!" The goal is to have the viewers
at home leave the television with something of a Save-Ums' attitude:
- it's fun to help others
- it makes you feel good
- working together makes solving problems easier
- use technology to work for us
- BE A MODERN HERO!
concept of The Save-Ums is excellent. It incorporates adventure,
fun, humor, action, lots of color, neat equipment and gizmos, use
of imaginative thinking - all characteristics that appeal to the
The Save-Ums emphasizes positive relationships and non-violent problem
solving. Four to six year olds are just beginning to develop a moral
code. They are beginning to learn that empathy towards others can
have a pay off. Up until this point, young children tend to be self-centered,
with little regard to the consequences of their behavior on others.
It is important that the four to six year old be exposed to and
experience positive situations. Morality is a learned behavior,
and The Save-Ums' world is a positive contribution to a pre-schooler's
The use of technology "to extend our reach, increase our power,
and serve our community" is an important concept for children
growing up in an ever increasing technological world. Too frequently,
technology is portrayed as a tool of manipulation and evil. The
concept in The Save-Ums is to show children that machines should
work for us, not the other way around. Using machines effectively,
however, requires creative thinking and The Save-Ums' use of an
adventure story, in which cool machines are the "bi-product
of imaginative critical thinking" is a positive characteristic
of this series.
Television is an important medium in the life of preschoolers. They
watch a lot of television. It is critical, as adults, educators
and producers, that we ensure that preschool television programming
is designed with positive educational and pro-social values. The
Save-Ums is a concept that meets these objectives.