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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are our replies to some of the questions asked by parents who have viewed our bee bright first steps DVD's. We hope these anwers will help you and your child to use bee bright in the most enjoyable and educational way possible.

FAQ's

Questions answered in this section are;

1. Is watching TV bad for my child?
2. What are the best types of programme for my young child to watch?
3. How is bee bright first steps different from other educational DVDs?
4. How much television should I allow my child to watch?
5. At what age can I start to show bee bright first steps videos to my child?
6. What if my young child doesn't seem to notice when I play bee bright first steps?
7. Does it matter if I show bee bright first steps disk three to my 18-month-old child when she hasn't seen the earlier videos?
8. Does it matter if I show my one-year-old child the disk that is intended for children who are older?
9. How can I get the best from watching bee bright first steps with my child?
10. How often should we watch bee bright first steps?
11. My ten-month-old baby used to love watching bee bright first steps disk one, but now she seems to have lost interest in it. Is she ready for the next disk?
12. Can I leave my child to watch bee bright first steps on their own?
13. How will turning off the narration help me to teach my child?
14. How does the music in bee bright first steps help my child to learn?
15. There are lots of sound effets in bee bright first steps, are these educational?
16. How can I use bee bright first steps to teach my child when we aren't watching television?
17. There is a lot of repetition in bee bright first steps, wont my child get bored?
18. I want to make sure my child will learn about colours is there a bee bright disk all about colours?


1. Is watching TV bad for my child?

Some people have blamed too much TV for a number of problems in young children including poor communication skills and attention deficiency. At bee bright we agree that, if used carelessly, television does have the potential to harm. However, we strongly believe that when used thoughtfully and in moderation, good quality TV can be one of the most powerful and stimulating learning tools that your child will ever use.

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2. What are the best types of programme for my young child to watch?

High quality educational programmes that have been specifically created for your child's age-group are undoubtedly the most beneficial and rewarding form of viewing.

Educational DVDs can be better than ordinary television as they are often tailored for specific age groups. They should contain images that are the right colour and content and that move at the right pace, they should also have music and sound effects that will delight and stimulate. Repeated viewing should create a familiarity with the images, characters, words and phrases, making it easier and more enjoyable for children to learn from them.

Some single educational DVDs claim to be suitable for children aged from six months to three years. At bee bright we feel this is misleading since no one video can adequately address the needs of such a wide range of ages. The bee bright first steps set of DVDs comprises four disks each of which has been specifically designed to suit children in four key stages of development between six months and three years of age. Each video varies in its content and presentation, making it ideally suited to its intended age group.

The bee bright first steps disks are aimed at the following age groups;

bee bright first steps disk 1 - 6 months and above
bee bright first steps disk 2 - 12 months and above
bee bright first steps disk 3 - 18 months and above
bee bright first steps disk 4 - 24 months and above

bee bright first steps is designed to be both educational and entertaining, but there's no harm in allowing your child to watch a limited amount of purely entertaining programming - providing it is suited to their age range. This could include programmes that are screened on the BBC's Cbeebies channel such as the excellent Something Special .

To see our range of carefully selected educational DVDs please visit our shop.

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3. How is bee bright first steps different from other educational DVDs?

We set out to make bee bright first steps after we saw how poor some of the existing 'educational' DVDs were. We wanted our products to be very different - and much better!

Firstly, bee bright first steps is a series of DVDs. Each disk is aimed at a relatively short age range lasting between 6 months and a year in length. As a parent you will know that children change almost daily and so an educational DVD that claims to be broadly suitable for children aged between 6 months and three years (as most others do) is very unlikely to accurately address a child's continually developing requirements.

bee bright first steps is the only series of early learning DVDs to contain loveable 3-D animated characters which both entertain your child and guide them through the concepts being revealed. Our character animation is of the highest quality, created by one of the UKs leading animation studios.

bee bright first steps are the only early learning DVDs to contain a live-action presenter. And not just any presenter - Justin Fletcher is the most popular and highly regarded pre-school personality in the UK. He's the award-winning star of BBC programmes such as Something Special, Autumn Watch, Tikkabilla, Tweenies and many more. Children and parents love him!

bee bright first steps are the only DVDs that allow you to switch off the narration and listen to only the sound effects and music. This means that you can leave the voice-over on and learn in a structured way, or you can switch it off and talk directly to your child about what they see and hear - tailoring each scene to your child's own interests and requirements.

bee bright first steps places great emphasis on the quality of its soundtrack. The voice-over, performed by Justin Fletcher, is carefully written to address the age of the children watching each programme. The music includes carefully chosen classical music (widely believed to stimulate educational development) as well as original music that is designed to compliment and underscore the action. We have also created a sophisticated soundtrack of sound effects, sometimes subtle, often funny, which help to reinforce the concepts, capture your child's attention, and make viewers of all ages smile.

bee bright first steps is the only series of DVDs that present their material in a number of short programmes. There are four programmes per disk. Each programme advances the concepts presented in the previous programme and, at around 15minutes per programme, is the ideal length to sustain a child's interest and enthusiasm - not to mention that of the parent!

bee bright first steps is outstanding value. Compare the quality and running time of our DVDs to those of our competitors. For example, a Baby Einstein DVD runs for approximately 25 minutes and costs £17.99. bee bright first steps disk 1 runs for approximately 75 minutes and costs just £13.99.

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4. How much TV should I allow my child to watch?

At bee bright we believe that watching TV should form a very limited part of your child's daily routine. Exactly how much you allow your child to watch will depend on your own opinions and circumstances. However, in line with recommendations made by organisations such as The National Literacy Trust, bee bright suggests that you limit your child's daily TV time to no more than half an hour for the under-twos and an hour for two to three-year olds.

Watching one fifteen-minute episode of bee bright first steps with your child will allow them time to fit both education and entertainment into their daily dose of television.

We also recommend that the TV is switched off whenever it is not actively being watched. A constantly switched-on TV will discourage young children from finding more beneficial forms of stimulation and the background noise can distract parents and children from talking, reading and playing together.

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5. At what age can I start to show bee bright first steps videos to my child?

bee bright first steps: disk one has been developed for children aged from six months and above. At bee bright we believe that this is the earliest age at which children should be introduced to television. As a parent you may even decide that your child should not watch TV until they are significantly older.

By six months your child should be alert to the images and sounds that surround them. You will notice that they watch you as you walk around and that they will turn to look at the television or any other source of movement and sound. bee bright first steps: disk one is designed to engage very young children at the stage that they begin to become receptive to such stimuli. The images shown are bold, often comprising only simple shapes in black and white or other highly contrasting colours, allowing your child to focus on what they see. The movement of objects on the screen is also very slow or rhythmic, allowing your child's young eyes to follow what is happening. The soundtrack includes classical music, shown by academic studies to be highly stimulating to young minds, as well as simple sound effects that are often related directly to the actions on the screen.

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6. What if my child doesn't seem to take any notice when I first play bee bright first steps?

Very young children rarely sustain an interest in TV for more than a few minutes at a time - there are far more exciting things to discover in the environment around them and you should encourage them to explore whatever they find interesting. When you first show your child bee bright they will probably only watch it for a minute or two. As soon as they loose interest, switch it off and continue with your normal playing routines. If your child shows no interest in TV at all then try again in a week or two - don't be in any hurry!

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7. Does it matter if I show bee bright first steps disk three to my 18-month-old child when she hasn't seen the earlier videos?

Children can start to watch bee bright first steps at any stage. It does not matter if they have not seen earlier DVD's in the series because each disk is designed to address the knowledge and needs of children at each stage of their development.

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8. Does it matter if I show my one-year-old child the disk that is intended for children who are older?

All children develop at different rates and so the disk intended for 12 months and above may not necessarily be the most suitable for your 12-month-old child. It is quite possible that your child may already have reached the developmental stage at which the next disk, intended for children of eighteen-months and above (bee bright first steps - disk three), is more appropriate.

Because children develop at different rates, we recommend introducing the use of bee bright first steps at around the age of six months (bee bright first steps - disk one) and then gradually moving on to further disks when you think your child is ready - but be careful not to rush them into watching material intended for older children if they are not ready yet.

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9. How can I get the best from watching bee bright first steps with my child?

Start by selecting the DVD which is most appropriate for your child's age group. Ideally you would begin with bee bright first - steps disk one, which is aimed at infants aged between six and twelve months. If your child is older you can begin with one of the later disks in the series.

We would encourage parents to sit with their children whilst watching bee bright first steps. As you sit and watch, point to anything that your child might find funny, laugh when they do, ask questions about what is happening on the screen, say 'hello' to the characters as they appear and 'goodbye' when they go, try copying the funny sounds that you hear - especially the ones that make your child laugh.

To help you interact with the programme we encourage you to switch off the spoken narration so that you only hear the sound effects and music. This will allow you to emphasise and concentrate on exactly what you want your child to be thinking about as they watch the screen. if your child reacts particularly positively to one scene, pause the DVD, replay the scene or even switch off the tv - allow your child to explore the new sounds, words, or concepts that they have discovered before watching any more of the disk.

At bee bright we believe that watching TV should be an interactive exercise for children. Simply sitting and watching television sometimes does little to stimulate a young child's mind or imagination. It is the additional stimulation and interactivity that a parent can provide that will make bee bright first steps a truly helpful tool in a child's early development.

For more information about using bee bright first steps, please see the parental guide that is included inside each DVD case.

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10. How often should we watch bee bright first steps?

Repetition is one of the best ways to teach anything to young children. Each bee bright first steps DVD contains four programmes all of which run for around fifteen minutes . This allows you to watch each programme for a short amount of time before moving on to another activity. You can then watch the same programme again later in the day or perhaps the following day.

Young children thrive on routine, so make watching bee bright first steps part of your daily schedule alongside other important activities such as reading, singing and playing. When you have watched a programme or disk repeatedly for a week or so, give it a rest for a few weeks before watching it again.

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11. My ten-month-old baby used to love watching bee bright first steps - disk one, but now she seems to have lost interest in it. Is she ready for the next disk?

When a child previously interested in watching bee bright first steps stops paying attention it may be for one of two reasons:

She may well have out-grown the disk and be ready for the next disk in the collection. In this case you should start to use the following disk, building upon the knowledge already acquired.

Alternatively, she may simply be bored with watching the same disk. Young children do tend to become intensly interested in certain programmes, books or toys for short periods of time before losing interest. Much as you would with an over-used toy, try putting bee bright first steps away for a week or so before reintroducing it once again.

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12. Can I leave my child to watch bee bright first steps on their own?

bee bright first steps is designed to be viewed by both parent and child together, enabling the parent to interact with their child and encourage educational participation. It is this interaction that turns the normally passive act of watching TV into a truly active form of stimulation. Participating in this way is also fun, helps to strengthen the parent-child relationship, and can help to build a child's confidence.

Once you have viewed a bee brigh first steps programme together a number of times, however, you may find there is some benefit in occasionally allowing your child to watch it alone. This may cause your child to recall and repeat words, sounds, and actions without your direct encouragement, thus stimulating their memory and imagination.

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FAQ's cont ...



13. How will turning off the narration help me to teach my child?

The bee bright first steps series are the only educational DVD's that allow you to switch off the voice-over narration whilst still listening to the music and sound effects.

This unique feature means that parents can talk to their child about what they see and hear, supply their own commentary, point out shapes, colours, numbers, characters or actions, ask questions, tell stories, and even sing along with the music. This allows parents to tailor the contents of each DVD to suit their child's exact needs, interests and abilities. It also transforms the normally passive television experience into a positively active learning tool.

Choosing what your child hears makes bee bright first steps a much more flexible and stimulating learning tool than traditional educational videos.

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14. How does the music in bee bright first steps help my child to learn?

When it comes to using video as an educational tool, many people forget that sound is just as important as vision. At bee bright we pay careful attention to what your child hears in our videos, carefully mixing music, sound effects and voices to achieve the most effective and enjoyable experience.

The bee bright first steps musical soundtrack mixes classical music with specially composed theme tunes in order to heighten your child's awareness and enjoyment of music.

Various academic studies have suggested that classical music can help to stimulate your child's intellectual development in a number of ways. In our earlier programmes bee bright uses classical music by composers such as Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, and Strauss to reinforce the simple and bold animation and to expose your child to the delights of classical music.

bee bright first steps' delightful original music has been carefully composed to complement the on-screen action. Each character has its own theme tune (known as a leitmotif) which helps your child to recognize the character and the type of actions that they make. The music is often built up gradually, adding one instrumental element after another. This introduces your child to the different sounds made by various musical instruments and the way that they can be combined to produce rhythm and harmony. The tunes are also highly memorable, so you may find yourself humming them to yourself long after you have finished watching bee bright!

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15. There are lots of sound effects in the bee bright first steps programmes, are these educational?

Specially recorded and mixed sound effects have been used in all bee bright first steps videos.

Some sound effects are used directly in order to teach your child what noises a particular object makes - cows go 'moo,' trains go 'toot toot,' for example.

Sound effects are also used to draw attention to the most important action in a scene, for example marking the arrival of a new shape. Sounds are also used to entertain and surprise, funny and peculiar noises helping to grab and hold on to your child's naturally limited attention span.

Children generally delight in hearing funny sounds and making your own sounds using instruments or your mouth can be a great addition to your playing and learning activities.

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16. How can I use bee bright first steps to teach my child when we aren't watching the television?

Use bee bright first steps as a spring board for your other learning activities. For example, if you have been watching a bee bright first steps episode that contains scenes about colours, point out those colours when you see them in real life. Help your child to remember what you have seen in bee bright by discussing it when you are engaged in other activities. When you see a bee in the garden ask your child if they think it is Buzz or Fizz, then discuss the last bee bright first steps programme that you saw.

Visit our downloads section for free printable matrerials that will help your child learn about colours, numbers and the alphabet. They can also download images of their favourite characters to colour-in.

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17. There is a lot of repetition in bee bright first steps. Won't my child get bored?

Repetition is key to teaching young children. In fact, most children love to see and hear things over and over again.

For this reason bee bright first steps videos contain a great deal of repetition. This benefits your child in two ways; simply repeating a word, image, colour or even a whole scene will allow your child to learn simply through familiarity. We can then further stimulate or inform your child by playing on that sense of familiarity. We do this by providing them with an image or sound with which they are familiar and then changing the outcome, sequence or pattern. This deviation from what your child is expecting (known by early education experts as 'violation of expectation') can stimulate your child's interest and encourage further mental development.

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18. I want to make sure my child will learn about colours - is there a bee bright first steps disk all about colours?

Unlike some other education DVDs, the bee bright first steps series does not have episodes that cover single subjects such as colours or shapes. We believe that children quickly tire of being repeatedly exposed to the same subject.

The bee bright first steps videos therefore mix the subject matter that is presented in each programme, combining subjects like colours, numbers or musical scales in programmes that are designed to suit an overall age group. We feel this variety keeps each programme feeling fresh, thus maintaining the interest of children and parents alike.

Why not visit our downloads section for free printable matrerials that will help your child learn about colours. There are also materials about numbers and the alphabet.

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