"Celebrate Quality" by Terry Solowey

"Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort and skillful execution! It represents the wise choice of many alternatives."

This is what we strive towards. We're constantly on the lookout for programs that reflect those things we've come to value, that enhance a child's viewing experiences. We've taken time to look carefully at the vast array of videos and CD-ROMs in this collection and reflect on what we see.

One of the greatest needs we see is entries that reflect cultural diversity.

PBS programs for children are doing a great job in this arena. One new show in particular, "The Puzzle Place," celebrates diversity, the similarities in us as human beings as well as the differences in our cultures. Puppet kids represent a variety of cultural backgrounds as well as equal representation of sexes. The program addresses issues and problems that diverse groups share and face and how they can be resolved. This is positive role modeling at its best. It is a vision to strive towards for our future, for our children.

Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood continue to hold down the fort as long time institutions that we applaud. Some newer companies that have emerged in recent years exemplify pre-school programming that encourages young children's exploratory behavior and brings alive a hands-on approach that kids identify with. From Bo Peep Productions we have titles such as "Bugs Don't Bug Us" and "Doing Things," and Concept Associates brings us their excellent Preschool Power series, a Montessori-based activity program.

Children's literature has led the way in embracing thematic topics relevant to today's youth. Literature-based media is a runaway winner following suit. Companies like Children's Circle have created titles such as "Really Rosie" and "The Amazing Bone" that bring great children's literature to life. Classic stories uphold the time-honored tradition of storytelling, outstanding examples include: MGM's "Lassie" and "Black Stallion," Lightyear Entertainment's "Beauty and the Beast" and "Pegasus," the Rabbit Ears' "American Heroes and Legends" series and PBS' "Reading Rainbow" series. There can never be too many good stories. The link between media and literature is a strong one. Exposure to literature-based videos has shown to increase the interest in books for young children, particularly with non-readers. We've doubled our review, evaluation and endorsement of videos since our last Directory and have started reviewing CD-ROMs as well. Many wonderful new titles and new producers have garnered our attention and respect. Those earning our "All star" status bring particular joy. How wonderful it is to bring to you, our reader, this outstanding collection to choose from. We've come a long way and will keep on going.

Terry Solowey is an early childhood specialist with diverse experience in children's media, including eight years at Children's Television Workshop developing outreach programs.

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