Since its premiere in 1996, ARTHUR has captivated children with funny, heartfelt stories about the challenges of growing up. Aimed at children 4–8 years, ARTHUR explores social and emotional issues with heart, humor, and an authenticity that speaks to kids. Situations develop in realistic ways, and don’t always turn out as viewers—or Arthur and his friends—might expect.
In addition to the television broadcast, ARTHUR reaches millions of kids, parents, and educators through its two websites––PBS KIDS and PBS Parents. Each site offers a collection of varied resources such as educational games, activities, videos, and parent/teacher guides.
After nearly 20 years in production, we have amassed a vast archive of video, print, and digital resources, devoted to modeling prosocial behaviors and tackling social and emotional topics as teamwork, executive functioning, and resilience.
With the AIM Buddy Project, we sought to leverage the power of these assets and use them as a foundation from which to build a fun and engaging program designed to help promote social, emotional, and character development, improve school-wide relationships, and decrease bullying in schools.
In the end, WGBH’s digital and education teams, along with Tufts University’sresearch team, created an engaging suite of digital products—featuring the ARTHUR characters kids have come to know and trust—that encourages children to discuss and explore the sometimes difficult topics of empathy, honesty, forgiveness, generosity, and learning from others.
Here is a short clip from the ARTHUR episode “So Funny I Forgot to Laugh,” which inspired the interactive comic devoted to exploring the qualities of empathy and perspective taking. In the clip we see Arthur tease Sue Ellen about her new sweater. As the episode progresses, Arthur’s teasing begins to become more hurtful and threatens his friendship with Sue Ellen.
Stay tuned! In a future post we will tell you about how “So Funny I Forgot To Laugh” is produced–from scripting to animation!