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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Helpsters promotes strong critical-thinking skills in preschoolers by way of the joyful efforts of a team of monsters who help people solve problems. This Sesame Workshop production uses lively original songs and friendly characters to engage viewers from the start. Each episode shows the Helpsters helping to solve problems in a formulaic way that emphasizes planning, teamwork, communication, and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Even in moments of frustration and miscommunication, the Helpsters remain committed to the cause and determined to do whatever it takes to see it through. This exceptional series is a well-rounded, worthwhile watch for kids.
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What's the story?
In HELPSTERS, four monster friends take joy in helping customers with the problems that arise in their lives. Each time the door to their shop opens, Cody (voiced by Stephanie D'Abruzzo), Heart (Ingrid Hansen), Scatter (Tim Lagasse), and Mr. Primm (Martin Robinson) welcome the opportunity to put their skills to the test, whether by planning a client's mountain climbing excursion or by helping a new friend learn a new skill. Even though each new task presents unique challenges, the Helpsters know that by creating and sticking to a plan, they can accomplish anything.
Is it any good?
Everything about this series works -- the vibrantly colored monsters, the engaging original music, the blend of puppetry and human cast members, and the superb and affirming messages. The Helpsters easily live up to their name with their excitement to assist their customers, which they do by following the same process in each episode. Kids who watch quickly will come to associate solving problems with the Helpsters' process of making a plan, dividing up responsibilities, troubleshooting, and finally celebrating when the job is done.
Another thing preschoolers will see in the Helpsters' example is that solving problems isn't an exact science. Two characters in particular – Heart and Scatter – have tendencies that make contributing positively to the group's efforts a bit challenging. In Heart's case, he needs his friends to help him understand the appropriate scope of his tasks (securing an entire water tower for two runners who need a drink, for instance). Scatter struggles with the sequence of projects and usually requires guidance to do things in the most effective order. These and other frustrations (and their respective solutions) provide multiple teaching moments for the youngsters watching and help give Helpsters solid preschool-appropriate learning content in critical thinking.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how sharing our problems with others helps us find effective solutions. Kids: Who do you trust when you are facing a problem? Why is it important to be honest in situations like these?
What would you have done differently than the Helpsters to solve the customers' problems? In what ways would your process change what tasks needed to be completed? When you work as a team, how does listening to other ideas improve the chance of being successful?
How do the customers show gratitude for the Helpsters' assistance? What expressions of gratitude mean the most to you?
- Premiere date: November 1, 2019
- Cast: Tim Lagasse, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, Ingrid Hansen
- Network: Apple TV+
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Friendship, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Character strengths: Gratitude
- TV rating: TV-Y
- Available on: Streaming
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: October 23, 2020
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