boot camp

Established in 2011, KIDS FIRST! Film Critics are nationally recognized as an authentic source of media reviews from tweens and teens, ages 9 to 20, with special emphasis on girls and those that identify as BIPOC. These youth begin their training with our professional educators at an initial boot camp. Upon successful completion, they are invited to join our national team and continue to be coached by both writing and video coaches with every assignment.

Kids love media – films, TV shows, YouTube videos, you name it. Beginning with their love of media, we coach them to become critical media users as they “watch, analyze, and review” the latest in entertainment geared for a young audience – PG-13 or younger. They learn the skills needed to express their opinions with honesty, integrity, and insight. Recent reports from six graduates of the KIDS FIRST! program with young adults who are now working in the entertainment and journalism industry have shown the positive effects that their experience made on their success in college and now, as working professionals. These young adults reported how their KIDS FIRST! experience increased their skills in using technology,  gave them an appreciation of cinematic arts, had a significant impact on their writing skills, and, most importantly helped them find employment in journalism or entertainment. HITN.BOYS.GIRLS

Their training takes place in a safe and supportive environment of peers and role models where students learn to see themselves as entertainment journalists. They learn the concepts of responsible journalism, including open source reporting that forms the basis of all their future reporting. They work in teams to complete projects that include real media releases. Participation in the program is free for the kids, based on available funding.

After the kids join the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics team they attend press screenings, interview talent online and at press junkets and red carpets, and review films and digital programming in both 400 word written and 2 minute video format (even our 9-year-olds write 400 words, using speech recognition on their smart phones to help them). Each reporter is required to take at least two assignments a month and meet 48-hour deadlines. The KIDS FIRST! writing and video editing coaches have more than 20 years of experience working in the entertainment or journalism industries, plus are experienced in working with young people.

Questions? Call our office:
or email us here.

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Sample Reviews And Interviews:

Tiana, age 12, Philadelphia:

Hanadie, age 10, Los Angeles:

Zoe, age 15, Miami:

Eshaan, age 16, Houston:

Maica, age 14, Philadelphia:

What KIDS FIRST! parents and reporters have to say about their participation:

We have been thrilled to have our son involved with KIDS FIRST! over the past 3 years. The organization has offered our child so many opportunities which include teaching him to critically think about a variety of media, teaching him to become a better writer, and giving him confidence in becoming a more effective communicator through his video reviews and film cast interviews.” Diane DiGravio

I have learned so many important things from KIDS FIRST! The most important things are: learning a huge depth of industry knowledge, team work, accountability, how hard work pays off, commitment, time management, conversational skills, creative writing skills, peer reviewing skills, how to make friends via Zoom and how to take criticism in stride. It’s taught me how to learn and grow with each mistake I make.” Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

‘Your program not only teaches kids how to be better communicators, more pleasant company and knowledgeable movie gurus, it gives them so much more. These kids will be able to socialize and speak properly, write great essays, participate intelligently in debates and become confident leaders…” Kate O., Mom, Gerry O., a senior at NYU

KIDS FIRST! is focused on giving youth a voice in expressing their opinions about entertainment media and to allow them to positively influence the future of children’s entertainment. We currently have 65 reporters in 20 states in the US and 3 countries between the ages of 9 and 20. 

Links To Our Website And Social Media Accounts:



KIDS FIRST! Film Critics is a project of the Coalition for Quality Children's Media, a national, nonprofit (501-c-3) organization founded in 1991 whose mission is to teach children to become critical media users.


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