In The Night Garden

Monday 2 March, 9am

This week sees the return of the landmark In the Night Garden. Jump back on the bandwagon with all the wonderfully silly Pontipine Family as we are taken on a long walk through their forest wonderland.

They are up to their tricks again when the Pontipine children play a game of jumping in the Tombiloo’s trousers, which results in Mr and Mrs Pontipine going home without their children.

TV2 welcomes back the second season of In the Night Garden with its up-to-date advances in costume technology and computer animation, culminating in this compelling experience for young viewers.

Weekdays at 9.10am

TV2’s whimsical children’s programme In The Night Garden is more than entertaining – it has educational benefits too. A modern interpretation of a nursery rhyme picture book series, this programme is especially created by the team behind Teletubbies, to appeal to pre-school kids.

Completing an indepth study on the In the Night Garden, educational expert Dr Faith Rogow says the show encourages learning and is created to be shared: “It originates from a shared moment. It is filled with deliberately simple and catchy music and rhyme, so that parents and caregivers can pick up on the fun and share it with their children.”
The series takes children on an imaginative journey to meet a host of wonderful characters living together within a happy and caring community. Filmed in a real woodland, the programme weaves together the very latest technical innovations in live-character costume technology and computer animation, to create a compelling experience for young viewers.

Rogow explains how the show’s minimal dialogue leaves viewers plenty of room to fill in their own conversations and the rich scenery provides plenty to talk about. “The charming characters and stories provide an opportunity to spend special time with your child giggling, imagining and enjoying each other’s company.”

With more than two decades experience as a media educator, Rogow has trained thousands of teachers, students, child care providers, and parents to understand the power of media, and has been a pioneer in creating media literacy education strategies appropriate for early childhood settings.

She says the inhabitants of the garden are modelled after toys because for children, toys are a universal experience. “The presence of toys identifies a space as child-friendly and invites children to play. Toys also offer children an opportunity to explore different perspectives and experiences. What is the world like if you are larger than everyone else, like a HaaHoo? Or if you live in a cave like Makka Pakka?

“When children engage in imaginary play, they hold conversations with their toys, supplying the toy’s as well as their own voices. The limited speech of the toys in the show is designed to offer young viewers a similar opportunity for conversation. The absence of dialogue creates space for children to respond with their own thoughts and ideas.

“Even without lots of words, the toys communicate. They use non-verbal expression and body language that ‘speaks’ to In the Night Garden’s youngest viewers in developmentally appropriate ways. And the characters don’t need to speak to provide viewers with a rich language experience because a model of formal language is ever-present in the words spoken by the narrator.

She says silly or made-up words give the programme a sense of whimsy, signalling a unique and creative place. “For children, word play is fun and beneficial. While the words don’t contribute to the real-world vocabulary that every child needs, they do promote emergent literacy. For example, rhymes help children learn to differentiate between sounds, which is essential to later phonemic awareness.”

In The Night Garden is both funny and reassuring, with a capacity to relax and entertain. Be watching TV2 weekdays at 9.10am.

In The Night Garden
Weekdays, 9.10am

This new landmark children’s series In The Night Garden – from the team behind Teletubbies – has been specially created to appeal to children aged from one to four.

In The Night Garden is a thoroughly modern interpretation of a nursery rhyme picture book that takes children on an imaginative journey to meet a host of wonderfully silly characters living together within a happy and caring community. It is funny and reassuring, with a capacity to relax and entertain. Filmed in a real woodland, the programme weaves together the very latest technical innovations in live-character costume technology and computer animation to create a stunning and compelling experience for young viewers.
Anne Wood, co-creator of the Teletubbies, believes the show offers positive values as well as providing entertainment. “We have created a community of characters who live together, like and respect each other. It was our intention to make it like a beautiful nursery rhyme picture book unfolding a little piece at a time. It is all about atmosphere.” Wood, who was an English teacher and later a consultant in children’s literacy before moving into television, thinks the best children’s television reflects their position and outlook on the world. “We call our programmes ‘conversations with children’; to have that conversation you have to be aware of how children respond and know how to write for that,” she says.

Wood set up a research department to help refine her children’s shows and makes sure that the programmes stimulate a child’s imagination. “Any significant invention mankind has ever made has come about with the use of imagination, and imagination starts with symbolic play,” she says. “It’s not about teaching or key stages, but it’s there, and even the youngest children who can’t talk yet have it – you can see it. I may be at the end of my career, but I value the creativity of the young – lose that and you will lose something very, very special.”

In the Night Garden sets a new standard in children’s television, weekdays at 9.10am on TV2.