Ever met a five-year-old more cultured than you are? I have and it?s not pretty; for you, or the kid. You?re embarrassed, and they?re appalled to discover how dumb you are. A few weeks ago, I was at the mall with my friend?s five-year-old son. We walked by an art store and he pointed out one of the paintings in the window and said it ?looked like ?Tiger in a Tropical Storm?.? I asked which piece he was referring to and he said ? and I quote ? ?if you knew what ?Tiger in a Tropical Storm? was, you?d know which one I was talking about.? Then (after snickering!) he told me to Google Henri Rousseau. When I returned the little charmer to his mother, I told her what a know-it-all her child was and asked how he came to be such an art aficionado. She thought it might have something to do with his TV-viewing habits, specifically his bordering-on-obsessive fascination with ?Disney?s Little Einsteins.?
I?m not really hip to ? or interested in ? what?s hot in pre-school TV but I was not going to let this show be one more thing this kid had on me. And clearly there were things I needed to learn; things ?Disney?s Little Einsteins? could teach me.
The episode I watched was called ?Ring Around the Planet? and featured a storyline that saw one of Saturn?s rings fall off and fly to earth. The Little Einsteins ? the cutest 2D characters you?ll ever see ? fly the ring back into space in Rocket, their ?Swiss Army Ship.?
So, what did I learn? Well ? I already knew that Saturn had rings and that there was no gravity in outer space. I was also already aware of the existence of meteors and that Earth looks small from really far away. Did I know all that when I was five? No, probably not, but I know it now and that?s what counts. However, there were a couple of things I learned from the show. Things like: the definition of ?diminuendo?; what Gustav Klimt?s ?The Kiss? looks like; that Gustav Klimt and his painting ?The Kiss? even existed. That?s a lot to pick up in 23 minutes, even for me. I should also point out that for a few hours after the episode ended, everything I thought in my head, and sometimes what I said out loud, was to the tune of Antonín Dvo?ák?s Symphony Number 9.
All this new-found knowledge leads me to believe that parents of preschoolers would do well to include an episode or two ? or 12 ? of ?Disney?s Little Einsteins? in their child?s TV-viewing schedule. Get a few episodes under their belt and they?ll be humming Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov?s ?Flight of the Bumblebees? and analyzing ?Starry Night?s? use of colour and light in no time.
?Disney?s Little Einsteins? airs Monday to Friday at 8:45 a.m. ET/PT on Family Channel.