Calgary-based YouTube program focusing on diversity, respect, self-awareness and science for kids and parents
CALGARY -- A streaming video host based in Calgary is helping children and their parents understand some of the most difficult topics right now, including COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter protests.
Randy Quansah is a Canadian-raised Black man who is the host of Kujo’s Kid Zone. Kujo means 'born on a Monday' in Ghanian culture.
It's a series of episodes aimed at educating parents and toddlers on topics not typically talked about with preschool children. His shows focus on diversity, respect, self-awareness and science.
The show was officially launched last February. Most recent special episodes explain Black Lives Matter, pride, COVID-19 social distancing, Father’s Day and sign language. One show explores feelings for children who are experiencing sadness due to separation during the pandemic.
"The current state of the world has parents and educators scrambling for tools to use to educate our future youth on the importance of acceptance, celebrating diversity and love of our unique selves," said Quansah in a news release Monday.
"The protests across Canada and the world have brought racism, discrimination and equality to the forefront of people’s minds, including children."
Over 20 episodes have been produced in Calgary and the channel has nearly 7,000 views, with over 250 subscribers.
The show features local talent, including recognized actors and puppeteers Ellis Lalonde and Kim Cheel, as well as Madison Laliberte, a Grade 2 teacher from Okotoks. The show also taps into a culturally diverse advisory board of subject matter experts who help to steer the quality and professionalism of program content.
Growing up, Quansah was inspired Mr. Dressup, The Friendly Giant and Mr. Rogers but he says while they were brilliant and creative, they didn’t look like him and didn’t address some of the issues that were happening in his community.
"Had I learned about pride (and) racism, it would have better prepared me and equipped me to deal with future hurt and pain that I would experience as a person of colour," he said.
Quansah hopes the show’s current event focus sparks conversation and breaks stigmas along with cultural and colour lines by using his brand of entertainment and education.
"I’m a parent and I know that explaining challenging situations to a child can be tough," said Quansah. "We want to use Kujo’s Kid Zone as a friendly and engaging way for parents, early childhood educators and media to promote a show that is responsive and inclusive to the current state of the world."
The goal is to challenge and push the capabilities of youth by providing practical and imaginative educational and political/social content.