A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
While series doesn't specifically teach viewers about building, it does show process to be intellectually challenging, personally rewarding, and useful. What's more, it helps defy stereotypes about careers in trades themselves and encourages kids to consider value of hands-on skills in areas like woodworking.
Viewers see contestants use critical thinking skills, teamwork to complete building challenges they're given. They bring different styles but similar levels of creativity to their projects. Team members show good sporting behavior toward other teams in victory and defeat. Female builders are represented, challenging traditional gender stereotypes in building trades.
Positive Role Models
Teachers collaborate with their students and incorporate their ideas into the design process, but mostly lead the charge themselves in the building phase. Students show adaptability and willingness to learn, and teamwork is paramount in these timed challenges.
Products & Purchases
Disney Imagineering professionals serve as guest judges in each episode, and some time is devoted to discussing their work on franchise productions and/or Disney destinations.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Shop Class is a lively building competition series involving teams of tweens and teens paired with a shop teacher who design and construct woodworking projects. The show challenges contestants to manage their time well, blend unique design with function, work as a team, solve problems as they arise, and accept criticism from the panel of judges. It also emphasizes the value of skilled trades like woodworking and challenges stereotypes with its diverse contestant pool. Disney does use the involvement of some of its Imagineering staff as guest judges to plug projects like movies and themed destinations, but that's a small price to pay for the otherwise exceptional messages in the show.
Is It Any Good?
This show does for workshop chops what shows like Top Chef Junior and Kids Baking Championship do for culinary skills: It makes them appealing to a young audience. The Shop Class student contestants aren't all woodcraft prodigies; some are more experienced than others, some favor the design aspect of the work more than the manual labor, some look at the practice as a hobby, and others see a related career in their future. But that's what allows the show to impart so many great messages -- messages about the value of skilled trades, teamwork, constructive criticism, and critical thinking abilities.
Shop Class is an excellent pick for families to watch together. The diversity among the contestants -- and the effort that's made to showcase both male and female builders in a traditionally male-dominated field -- challenges stereotypes in an effective way. The projects are of manageable size and scope, which encourages the teams to balance functionality with creative flair. For families that want to take watching it to the next level, the show could inspire a collaborative project similar to the ones in the challenge. Even if that's not in the cards, though, the positive themes make this series a worthwhile watch for any age group.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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