New SKYcable kids channel ZooMoo hosts panel on animal conservation

Well, first there was IQ, and then there was EQ.  Today, we have another aspect of child development that we, as parents, would do well to address: our children’s animal quotient (AQ).

From the apex predators in the wild, the little critters in the fields, and our furry friends at home, all animals have their own important place in the world.

ZooMoo Launch Event

ZooMoo Launch Event

ZooMoo Launch Event

ZooMoo, the new English language-based learning channel on SKYcable, aims to help parents in honing their preschoolers’ AQ, as well as fostering a love for animals and nature.  The channel is a product of the collaboration among the world’s foremost wildlife filmmakers, early childhood educationalists and technology developers.  Its entertaining and engaging animal-centered programs are designed stimulate and develop kids’ innate emotional connection to the natural world.

Recently, ZooMoo hosted a panel discussion for parents and guardians at the aptly themed Zoo Coffee.  Here, the attendees were able to gain insights on the importance of teaching kids about animals and nature at an early age and how to further integrate technology into their kids’ early education.

ZooMoo Launch Event

The panel is composed of photojournalist and environmental advocate Gregg Yan, lifestyle television host and online influencer Kelly Misa-Fernandez and the marketing manager of ZooMoo’s parent network Blue Ant Media, Trippy Padilla.  Together, the panelists imparted tips and information on how to foster kids into becoming good caretakers of the planet, which include:

The benefits and challenges to parents of being in the digital age

With the ubiquitous influence of technology, parents do wonder whether access to these gadgets, apps and social media is beneficial or harmful to their kids.

The answer is: As with most things, technology is neutral. It can be both good or bad, depending on how you use it.

In his line of work, Gregg Yan has seen first-hand how technology helps in animal conservation. For example, conservationists can upload photos of the lieft fin of the whale sharks they encounter on the Wild Hook system which helps them identify individual sharks as patterns of spots are unique to each shark.

Furthermore, access to animal and nature-related content through digital media has grealty helped in disseminating conservation awareness, even among kids.

“With digital technology, you don’t have to carry a fifty-pound backpack and go up mountains,” he said. “All you have to do is watch ZooMoo and you’ll be able to see the animals in their natural habitat.”

ZooMoo’s programming is comprised of 1,500 self-contained shows that combine spectacular wildlife footage with a range of puppetry, animation and narrative techniques to create a unique viewing and learning experience for a very young audience. Centered around five themes – explore, create, play, puzzle and quiet – ZooMoo’s shows are geared towards helping kids develop appreciation and compassion towards other creatures.

Through the ZooMoo App, kids and parents will have a second screen to enjoy ZooMoo’s animal-centric content. Parents can allow their kids to immerse themselves in the world of ZooMoo through interactive games, music, puzzles and other fun activities. The app’s Parent Page also provides personalized support to parents to aid in their children’s learning.

How to develop good conservation habits among young children

To Kelly Misa-Fernandez, modelling good behavior is key to raising socially and environmentally responsible kids.

“At this age, kids will immitate what they see.” she shares. “I want my son to see the real situation and I want him to be empowered to know that he can do something about it. And it’s best to lead by example.”

Recently, for example, her family has started assembling eco-bricks, environmentally friendly bricks made of recycled plastics from home waste. They stuff plastics like wrappers and cellophane tightly into sturdy containers which can later be used in construction while keeping harmful plastics away from the ocean and sea life.

Through the talks with the panelists, it is easy to see that conservation awareness is becoming a more important issue for today’s kids. Fortunately, with ZooMoo, parents and kids can get their start in becoming environmentally aware and doing their share to protect nature and animals.

ZooMoo Launch Event

ZooMoo Launch Event

ZooMoo Launch Event

ZooMoo ‘s program line up is packaged in an easy to understand format that is fun for both parents and kids. Among ZooMoo’s well-loved shows are Dinosaur Train wherein young Tyrannosaurus Rex Buddy travel across the Land of Dinosaurs with his family and friends), and  ZooMoo Wild Friends which take kids on a journey to discover animals and the world around them.

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SKYcable subscribers can choose to add zooMoo (channel 120 in Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan and Lipa) to their channel line-up for only Php20 per month via SKYcable Select. For more details or to subscribe, visit mysky.com.ph or call +63 2 418 0000.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.

What we need in dealing with a child with special needs

Being a mom of a child with special needs, I sometimes balk at the enormity of the added responsibility. I feel guilty at times for thinking that while parenting is hard enough, it is sometimes made harder by having to contend with the all the extra support, attention and understanding required by a special needs child.

The reality is that, as with all life, there are good times as well as bad; and some days are better or worse than others. I’m grateful that, for the most part, the good times far outweigh the bad.

My son is in the autism spectrum which means that he has difficulties with communication and social interaction. He has overcome a lot of his previous difficulties in managing himself in social situations at home and in school. In fact, far from the stereotype of kids with autism who have difficulty looking people in the eye, he has grown gregarious and friendly, waving and saying hi to strangers in restaurants and malls (which present a new set of problems).

Still, he struggles with schoolwork. For instance, while he is already included in mainstream classes, his reading level is not at the proper level for his age. His difficulties at school prompt those little nagging doubts in my head about his future and how he will need to cope with more and more challenges as he grows older.

These doubts lead me to thinking on what I need to provide to help him deal with what he needs to face, in the present and future.

Fortunately, in a recent seminar held at his school, assistant chief of DepEd’s SPED Unit Dr. Elvira Rocal effectively sums up these points in her talk “3 C’s in Educating Learners with Special Needs in the 21st Century.” You would think that these C’s would involve technology but they are pretty much basic and common-sense.

Learners with Special Education Needs (LSEN) would benefit from:

  • Connection. Being wired differently from their peers and even their own family can feel very isolating. They need to feel like they’re still a part of our group, that they belong. We need to build emotional connections with them to motivate them to learn and to minimize their feelings of isolation. Since my son is a budding foodie, I try to interest him in learning how to prepare simple meals and how he can add his own touch to his food. I am proud to say that he can prepare his own bowl of cereal every morning (a simple task for most but a significant feat for us) and has incorporated his own variations such as using his Milo as a substitute for milk to suit his taste.
  • Collaboration. They say it takes a village to raise a child. It is even more so when it comes to raising a special needs child. You would need to rely on the expertise and help of developmental pediatricians, therapists, teachers and school personnel in assessing and providing for the requirements of special needs kids. At home, I have come to rely on my daughter, #ExhibitA, in helping my son with his homework and projects. My son also has a network of grandparents, uncles and aunts, and family friends who treat him as just another ordinary kid while also on the lookout for opportunities to help him with his special needs.
  • Compassion. I have come to accept that there will be things that my son will always have difficulty with. In many ways, he will never be like other kids his age. However, he has his own point of view and opinions that he wants to express and his own wants and dreams that he wants to achieve. My role as his mom is not to regret what he cannot do, but to encourage and celebrate what he can.

Raising and educating a special needs child is already a huge challenge and responsibility. If you are a parent dealing with this situation, do reach out to professionals who can help you and to your family and community as well.

Click here to see Smart Parenting’s list of developmental pediatricians in Metro Manila.

Click here to know more about the Special Education Unit of the Department of Education (DepEd).

Read this post about my initial struggles with my son’s condition.

For more information on supporting the learning efforts of kids with special needs, check out these books on Amazon.com:


Parents and Families of Students With Special Needs: Collaborating Across the Age Span 


How the Special Needs Brain Learns Third Edition


Steps to Independence: Teaching Everyday Skills to Children with Special Needs, Fourth Edition 4th Edition

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