The Help Dora Help campaign is back – though you don’t have long to register (only two weeks now)! Help Dora Help is a campaign to bring exploration to life in nurseries and pre-schools across the UK. It’s supported by The Prince’s Foundation for Children & the Arts.
What do you get?
All nurseries and preschool that apply will get a free activity pack featuring educational activity resources. In addition, nurseries will also have an opportunity to apply for an award of £20,000. The pack follows the Early Years Foundation Stage development goals and contains six activity session plans that provide stimulating learning themes with Dora The Explorer. The themes this year are Cooking, Sports Day, Fairy Tales, Animals, Seaside and Music.
How do you do it?
Registration is open at nickjr.co.uk/helpdorahelp for nurseries to apply for a pack – and they’ve got until the 22nd July to work through the activities and get the application together for the £20,000 award.
What happens next?
Once this is done, there’s a panel which includes Helena Dowling from Nick Jr’s ‘Wake Up World’, some Nick Jr representatives, plus partners from The Prince’s Foundation, Dora Magazine and Chad Valley who will choose five finalists. Then the voting goes to the public – and the favourite is awarded the £20,000!
Each of the five finalists will get learning equipment from Chad Valley AND a visit from Dora the Explorer, as well as being filmed and featured on Nick Jr.
We were lucky to get to ask Helena some questions about Help Dora Help, as well as a few questions we’ve often wondered about her work on Nick Jr and Wake Up World – read on!
The Help Dora Help campaign is huge – by being involved, what do you think makes it work so well? Is it down to Dora being such a great character, or is it more than that?
You’re absolutely right! Help Dora Help is a brilliant campaign as the award fund could make a huge difference to the nursery it is awarded to. Not only that, all the nurseries that apply will receive an activity pack and so children all over the UK and Ireland can be a part of the fun throughout the year.
Dora is a fantastic character and children love her. I think she is great as she is a very positive role model. She is very friendly and gently allows her friends to complete tasks for her and she doesn’t even get angry at Swiper, the cheeky fox who steals things from her. The show facilitates active learning by encouraging children to join in with her by counting or playing along with the games. She also encourages and teaches Spanish too which is great. I know from meeting children that took part in the campaign last year that kids absolutely love her and love the campaign. They were very enthusiastic when taking part in the creative task, using their imaginations and working together to produce something colourful and fun that could help themselves, their classmates and nursery.
I think it’s a fantastic campaign, and seeing how my daughter picked up on Dora so quickly and how it’s one of her favourite shows now, that has to be a good thing.
How much fun do you have doing what you do on Nick Jr.? Do you have trouble keeping a straight face on times when you’re sat with say, Peppa Pig in the studio, or do you take the surreality of it all in your stride?
I absolutely love it, we have a fantastic team of people at Nick Jr. that provide brilliant ideas when we are filming and I can honestly say being a childrens’ TV presenter is one of the best jobs in the world! I do get the giggles often actually but everyone seems to be fine with it!
You’ve done some episodes with The Bopps – how fun was it, as it looks like you were having a good laugh!
It was great fun! They are a couple of very funny and entertaining guys and we had a blast filming. They are not that far removed from their characters funnily enough and were often winding me with up practical jokes like hiding my shoes or telling me stories! It was great to do some slapstick style old school too, and the whole process from rehearsal to filming was a great one.
If you were to have your ideal guest on Nick Jr., who would it be?
My ideal guest would probably be Arnie from the bedtime worms, He is soo nice to chat to and I think he could help me in the garden with my flowers.
If you could sing a song from any Nick Jr. programme, what would you go for?
I love singing the Wake up World song that we created about Dora and all of her friends.
What programmes did you grow up with, and what do you think of the programmes we have these days? I feel like we’re learning so much more from them now than in the past.
I grew up with Saved by the Bell, Rugrats, Playdays and the CBBC broom cupboard. I think programming is much more advanced now and you’re right, they do facilitate active learning and imaginative play. I know we work hard to make and air quality childrens’ programming that children love and that works with the rhythms of their day from wake up to bedtime. At Nickelodeon we are constantly researching how families go through their day, watch TV play and gave fun and put all of that into and creating a great Nick Jr. line up.
Finally, what kinds of things will you be looking out for with the Help Dora Help campaign on applications?
We will be looking out for entries where the children and the staff have used their imagination. That will come through in the creative part of the entry, the maps. We are also on the look out for applications where the nursery has shown how best the award could be used to benefit their surroundings or educational offering. It is also great when you can see that the whole community is behind their application like with hope Nursery in Belfast last year.
About Nick Jr. UK:
Nick Jr. is the number one commercial pre-school TV channel. Launched by Nickelodeon UK in 1999, it was the world’s first channel dedicated to pre-school children and broadcasts hit shows including Dora the Explorer, Peppa Pig, Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom, Max and Ruby and Humf. In 2009 it won BAFTA children’s channel of the year. With its sister channel Nick Jr. 2, it is the most popular commercial pre-school entertainment brand in cable and satellite homes.
Launched in 1993, Nickelodeon UK comprises seven dedicated award-winning entertainment channels for kids aged 2-12 and is a joint venture between MTV and BSkyB Networks. The Nickelodeon Network is a top performing commercial kids TV network in the UK and the Nickelodeon channels are available in over 14 million cable and satellite homes.
About The Prince’s Foundation for Children & the Arts:
The Prince’s Foundation for Children & the Arts is an educational charity which champions the power of the arts to transform and enrich the lives of disadvantaged children across the UK. The charity’s projects have helped to create long-term partnerships between arts organisations and their local schools. Two core programmes, Start and Quests both highlight the potential of learning outside the classroom, enabling children to visit their local cultural venue to work with professional artists, and then developing this experience through class-based projects and activities. Since 2006 the charity has worked with over 100,000 children and hopes to substantially increase this figure in the next few years. For more info please visit www.childrenandarts.org.uk