Popular Television Series Highlights Five SDGs
Photo by IISD/ENB | Angeles Estrada Vigil
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The latest season of Thomas and Friends will represent themes from: Goal 4 (quality education), Goal 5 (gender equality), Goal 11 (sustainable cities and communities); Goal 12 (responsible consumption and production); and Goal 15 (life on land).

UN experts in each topic worked with the Thomas and Friends team to develop the SDG-inspired content.

An accompanying website provides educational videos, parent tips and conversation starters about sustainability at the household level.

7 September 2018: The UN’s Department of Public Information has launched a collaboration with Mattel, Inc. to introduce themes from five of the SDGs to young children worldwide through several episodes of a popular animated children’s television series. The Goals to be represented in the latest season of Thomas & Friends are: Goal 4 (quality education), Goal 5 (gender equality), Goal 11 (sustainable cities and communities); Goal 12 (responsible consumption and production); and Goal 15 (life on land). Goal 6 (clean water and sanitation) will be featured in educational materials available online.

In addition to the television episodes, the website All Aboard for Global Goals has been launched. It includes “short-form early childhood educational videos, parent tips and interactive activities… to “help pre-schoolers around the world learn more about sustainability and start meaningful conversations between parents and children at the household level.”

According to DPI, the SDGs provide the perfect tool for writers to teach viewers the importance of “taking part in the global efforts to end poverty, providing girls and boys with the same opportunities, and … protecting our planet.” The accompanying website provides, for each of the selected SDGs, ‘Parent Tips’ on: What is the Goal?, What is my child learning?, Conversation starters, and ideas for playful learning. It also offers a downloadable early learning skills framework that identifies the core learning areas for each age group that are addressed by the episodes.

DPI reports that UN experts in each topic worked with the Thomas & Friends team to develop the SDG-inspired content, with support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Women and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). [UN press release] [All Aboard for Global Goals website]

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