‘What’s the Big Idea?’ is CBeebies’ first ever Philosophy show for pre-schoolers. The programme takes children on a journey of philosophical enquiry with Hugo, its central character. Each episode begins with Hugo asking a ‘big’ question such as; ‘What is the difference between thinking and dreaming?’, ‘Can it ever be good to be angry?’ and ‘Why do people feel sad?’.
As Hugo travels through his beautiful landscape (and sometimes beyond, as he sometimes finds inspiration in outer space) in search of understanding, he meets a range of characters, based on the books of Oscar Brenifier and Jacques Després.
As his understanding develops in each episode, Hugo asks more questions, designed to draw the viewers into a deeper exploration of topics that are meaningful to them, such as friends, beauty, imagination, learning and fairness.
We hope that through enjoying Hugo’s adventures in the series, they will also find themselves relating to his experiences and maybe developing questions of their own.
Studies around the world have shown that regular participation in philosophical enquiry can have a whole host of significant benefits, such as increased academic attainment, better relationships and greater confidence in speaking to others, and many primary schools have started including some elements of philosophy in their curriculums. Children of nursery age and above are being encouraged to think not only creatively and critically, but also caringly (listening to each other’s ideas and respecting differences) and collaboratively (building on each other’s ideas and working together to make more sense of things).
Nick Chandley from Philosophy for Schools (www.philosophyforschools.co.uk ) has put together these top tips for developing your little one’s thinking skills:
- Watch ‘What’s the Big Idea?’ with your children
- Get a feel for the style of questions Hugo asks and try asking some yourself
- Discuss the final question Hugo leaves you at the end of each episode with your children
- Ask your children what they found interesting/puzzling in the episode
- Ask your children to ask you a question about the episode
- Next time you read a picture book to your children, instead of asking them questions, see if they can ask you one about the story
- Ask your children if they’ve had any experiences like Hugo’s
- Ask questions like ‘what makes you think that?’, ‘can you give me a good reason why you think that way?’ and ‘can you give me an example?’
About the mobile game for 'What's The Big Idea?'
This game helps children to develop their thinking skills and decision making by asking them to position columns at the correct height to allow Hugo to successfully throw the ball to his friend on the other side. The game is fun and re-playable and allows children to form relationships with the show’s characters in three different worlds each with 5 levels.
The levels feature very simple and intuitive controls and allow children to discover that there is more than one way to complete the game.
To play this game, just visit www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies on your mobile or tablet device.