Space travel used to be something that people only dreamed about. Today, scientists are working to bring this dream to a reality, and PBS KIDS new series READY JET GO! is ready to help our children explore the amazing world of outer space. Premiering on Monday, February 15, 2016, READY JET GO! encourages children to learn about astronomy, as well as Earth science topics as well.
Sean and Sydney, the main characters are sure to entertain kids with their combination of science facts and out of this world imagination. With the help of their new neighbor, Jet Propulsion – who just happens to be an alien from the planet Boron 7, they’ll help spark curiosity, learning, and encourage a new level of exploration that’s sure to entertain!
READY JET GO! includes a digital platform including games, hands-on activities and resources that parents can use to help keep their kids engaged in exciting learning opportunities. Created by Craig Bartlett (creator of DINOSAUR TRAIN), and supported by Dr. Amy Mainzer who makes guest appearances and is also the science curriculum consultant for READY JET GO! this is more than just a “fun” show – it’s one that’s sure to make learning out of this world!
At a recent PBC Press Tour in LA, we heard highlights of the READY JET GO! and look forward to the premier.
If you could give parents a sneak-peak about what their kids learn watching READY JET GO! what would you tell them?
“At the heart of every episode is a kid-friendly question about space, questions like is the moon made of cheese? Why isn’t Pluto a planet anymore? And what do astronauts eat?…
As they seek the answers, they learn that there’s a whole universe to explore.” It also incorporates friendship and teamwork within each episode – essential skills for kids today!
What will Dr. Mainzer’s role be on the show?
An astronomer with NASA’s Jet Laboratory, she’s an expert in the subjects of asteroids and the evolution of galaxies. This passion began when she was only six years old! From then, she knew that she outer space fascinated her, and she let her childhood curiosity lead her to her profession. There isn’t a better role model out there for kids – who knows what READY JET GO! may inspire in PBSKIDS!
How do READY JET GO! producers Wind Dancer Films tie into the theme of the show?
Dete Meserve, principal for Wind Dancer Films and executive producer for READY JET GO! is the perfect person to be on the team. “Her grandmother worked for NASA during the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions. And in their house, you got extra dessert for knowing things like whote astronauts landed on the moon during Apollo 11.” Although this is Wind Dancer’s first venture into the animated children’s world, they’ve been a part of shows like “Home Improvement,” “Rosanne,” and films like “Bernie” and “What Women Want,” so they’re definitely ready for PBSKIDS.
We all know that kids love music. How is it incorporated in the show?
Craig said that they sink curriculum into songs because it’s one way for kids to learn, and remember. One song, “Night of a Bazillion Stars, created the challenge of figuring out how to rhyme star names! Another song, “67 Moons,” is all about the fact that Jupiter actually has 67 moons!
What would you consider the age-range for READY JET GO?
Consensus is that the show is for kids ages 3—8, with the curriculum beginning at the 4 year old level. The character Mindy is four, and she’s full of typical little kid questions which lends itself easily with pre-school range. She also has traditional four year old boundaries, but if all goes well, maybe Mindy will venture out of the back yard some day!
With such a hype on space related movies, was READY JET GO! planned, or did you just “luck out?”
Craig said they were “incredibly lucky.” With the opening of the blockbuster Star Wars movie, one of the biggest movies ever released, it primes parents to talk to their kids about space. The Martian is more science-based than the science fiction world of Star Wars, but the dialogue is there, parents just have to run with it.
What inspired you to create READY JET GO!? Was it the characters? Concept? Passion about outer space?
According to Craig, it came about because he thought a story about an alien in a kids’ show would be fun. It progressed from the crazy things kids do, to one of those “kids” being an alien, which then morphed into the start of his relationship with PBSKIDS, SID THE SCIENCE KID then DINOSAUR TRAIN. Living during the Space Race when we were literally racing the Russians to the moon definitely helped to inspire a passion for outer space.
Now for the expert – how does a six year old become inspired enough about outer space that it becomes a career?
It turns out that Dr. Mainzer comes from a family of artists and teachers, so gravitating towards an academic career isn’t really a stretch. The true beauty lies in the fact that she was interested ni mythology, and it turned into a trip to the library, looking at encyclopedias, and the Andromeda galaxy. Imagine a six year old thinking “whatever that is, it’s pretty cool.” Fortunately, her parents listened to her. A lot! They were supportive, and they worked with her to support her curious nature.
What is the goal of READY JET GO?
It’s all about the kids. Getting them excited about the world around them. Getting them excited about science. Getting them to appreciate the world around them, and above them. Encouraging them to learn. Understanding the importance of teamwork in science, and life in general. We all know that not every kid is going to grow up to be a scientist, but they all need to understand scientific concepts. If we encourage this from a very young age – show them that science is fun and interesting, we have to potential of creating life-long learners, which is so essential in today’s world.
READY JET GO! is taking kids to a galaxy far, far away. It’s challenging them with live-action scientists who are experts in their field. It’s encouraging communication between kids and their parents’ passion for outer space when they were young. But, best of all, it’s teaching kids topics that many adults have