Wow! Wow! School!

My middle daughter was watching an episode of “Wow! Wow! Wubzy!” on Nickelodeon while I folded some laundry. In this particular episode, Wubzy is on his way to school. When he gets to the playground, though, some other kids tells him that school is bad because you are in a class with kids you don’t know, the teacher is mean, and you don’t get any time to play kickity-kick ball or hoppity-hopscotch. So Wubzy decides that school is not for him.

Wubzy then runs into his adult friend Walden, who is known for being very smart, and tells Walden that he doesn’t want to go to school and that he thinks he can learn everything on his own. Walden offers the use of his extensive personal library, but Wubzy is soon overwhelmed trying to learn everything on his own. Next he visits another adult friend (her name escapes me) who is an inventor. The friend has invented a robot teacher who will tell him everything while he plays, but then something happens to the robot (I was distracted during that part). Wubzy then goes in search of kids to play with but is all alone at the playground.

Then he hears laughter from the school house. All the kids inside are doing different activities. He learns that all the kids have become friends and they get to go outside to play kickball and hopscotch at recess. And the teacher is none other than his old pal Walden. I figured that this would be the completely pro-school message, but Walden surprisingly says, “New things can be scary, but school can be fun if you give it a chance.”

I found this segment interesting on a variety of levels. I mean, anyone familiar with preschool shows knows that they are all geared about sending positive messages about school: teachers are nice, you’ll learn a lot, you’ll make new friends and have fun, it’s ok to be away from your parents. So I wasn’t surprised when these things were emphasized on this show. (It sometimes makes you wonder why they have to work so hard to make school sound appealing.)

Surprisingly, though, Walden didn’t scoff at the idea that Wubzy could learn things on his own. I thought it was great when Wubzy had access to Walden’s library, but Wubzy was sadly under the misconception that you have to or even can learn everything there is in the world. He didn’t have anyone to tell him to just start with what interests him and go from there. Perhaps this was supposed to be a silent commentary about the necessity of certified teachers as opposed to any adult mentor. I don’t really know what the point of the robot section was other than maybe “no one can learn things for you”. Although, many could make a case for the merits of a robot “teaching” while a an audio-kinesthetic learner plays in the vicinity.

And I was really surprised when Walden announced the moral of the story to be that new things can be scary but school can be fun. Because both things are true. New things can be scary. School can be fun, at times. Some teachers are nice. You can make new friends. Although, considering most schools only allow about ten minutes of recess if that much, I’m not sure how much kickball anyone would have time to play. I had spent the whole episode waiting for “the message”, the one that is incompatible with our educational philosophy, but it happily didn’t come. Wow! Wow! Surprise!!

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One Comment on “Wow! Wow! School!”

  1. Laura Witten Says:

    Wow Wow Wubbzy is one of DS’s favorites, and the inventor’s name is Widget. Nick Jr.com has some good online interactive games for wubbzy fans, if you haven’t seen that yet. DS especially likes the “chick-bot” video game and the robot-building one.

    I don’t know if any of Wubbzy’s shows are nearly as deep as you are trying to make it, but it is interesting. I think I may have actually missed this episode (or just wasn’t paying attention). I find Wow Wow and other overused phrases in the kiddie shows annoying, but the general premise of it is a good one.


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