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Educational Mickey Mouse Series

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Mumbai (UNI): Playhouse Disney, the preschoolers block of Disney channel, has launched an internationally acclaimed ''Mickey Mouse Clubhouse'', a learning-focused series for tiny tots. The show is named after Disney's all-time favourite mascot, and who better to help two to five-year-olds interact, have fun and learn early math skills than Mickey mouse, the world's most beloved animated character, a press release said. The series has been created by producer Bobs Gannaway, producer and director of the Emmy award winning Disney's ''Mickey Mouse Works''. The series later evolved into Disney's ''House of Mouse'' that featured not just Mickey but virtually all of the Disney's animated characters. The show will be aired on Saturdays and Sundays at 8:30 hrs.

Although, the character designs are referential to 1940's drawings, the show has 3D computer animation, a next step for the characters that have evolved along with film technology from black and white to colour and now to digitally rendered 3D. In order to ensure that each episode is entertaining and comprehensible to this core audience, Disney channel writers and researchers visited pre-schools where they read story books based on the shows to students to see if they enjoyed it, if they understood the concepts and were engaged enough to participate.

''The shows that have worked best with young kids are interactive ones where the audience feels they're playing along as opposed to just sitting back and watching,'' says Nachiket Pantvaidya, Director Programming and Production, Walt Disney Television International (India). ''Its always been Mickey's way to connect-one-to-one with kids making them develop a close relationship with kids in a preschool learning environment. The show helps to broaden the definition of math skills to include not just counting, but learning shapes, patterns, colours and fractions.

''Early math skills are key to pre-schoolers development because if it is embedded right from the beginning, kids will embrace the subject. The wonderful thing is that kids of this age love to count and master skills. They don't see it as a chore or a lesson. They are really proud of being able to tell you what is bigger and what is smaller, what's near and what's far. It's not work to them, its really fun,'' adds Pantvaidya. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse will help define the series educational goals and have an age appropriate curriculum with the help of the sensational six: Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Daisy and Donald.

In course of developing the series, Disney channel showed several preliminary concepts to pre-schoolers and asked them what they like most about Mickey. What they heard over and over again, ''He's my friend'', which brought to life the idea of a show that was television equivalent of a play date with Mickey. Even the location has been created in a new setting which is a cool looking clubhouse for a truly playful environment, the release said.

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