“Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” will be a lot quieter when the PBS children’s series returns next month.
PBS announced Wednesday the popular Emmy-winning children’s show will come back for its fifth season in August with a special called “Won’t You Sing Along with Me?” that will address some of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
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In a statement, PBS describes the episode as “a timely, music-filled special that helps address some of the challenges and disappointments ‘little tigers’ and their families may be experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the special, when Daniel learns he can’t gather with all of his neighbors at the Neighborhood Carnival this year, it leads to a lot of big feelings and questions, including what to do when he misses the people he loves, how to keep himself and others healthy, and how to find ways to enjoy the extra time at home with his family,” PBS added.
It’s all part of a larger goal of educating kids with relevant plots that they can understand.
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“Season 5 of ‘Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood’ will showcase even more relatable storylines and fresh musical strategies to help keep preschoolers learning, growing, and navigating the world around them,” said Paul Siefken, president and CEO of Fred Rogers Productions, which produces the series.
Siefken also said this season will revolve around ways the virus has had an impact on children.
“In addition to the upcoming special, the season will include episodes about sudden changes at school, separation from family members, staying safe, hospital stays, respecting one’s personal space, disappointment, generosity, and grown-ups taking care of you,” he said.
“Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” senior producer Chris Loggins said the virus presented a tricky subject to tackle.
“Even young children are aware of the changes around them as the world weathers this pandemic,” he told Fatherly.
“We chose to focus on questions children might have, like why normal events are canceled and why we can’t see our friends like we used to, and also the feelings those questions might lead to," Loggins said. "And we relied on the guidance of child development experts, just as we always do. But we didn’t mention the virus specifically in the special so as not to create too much fear about getting sick.”
“Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Won’t You Sing Along with Me?” premieres August 17.