Educational Information


"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:

THE SAVE-UMS!
An action adventure world for preschooler
Dr. Heather Knoepfli

The Concept

The 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".

From 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!


Comment


The 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 young mind.

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 television experience.

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.