GoNoodle’s The Mooderators gets kids talking about mental health

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: The platform's senior producer of content and development explains how the series intentionally sets out to make it "cool" for kids to express their feelings.
May 3, 2022

GoNoodle has teamed up with mental health organization On Our Sleeves to launch The Mooderators, a new social-emotional learning (SEL) series for kids that explores mental health themes.

The six-part live-action video series aims to teach five- to nine-year-olds how to identify, process and express their feelings in healthy ways. Each episode will be between two and three-and-a-half minutes long.

GoNoodle is a Nashville-based kids media platform specializing in educational content that focuses on physical movement and mindfulness. The Mooderators was developed with the input of pediatric psychologists from On Our Sleeves, a US advocacy organization supporting kids’ mental health, which is in a state of crisis right now.

“SEL has always been important to GoNoodle, but it has become one of our guiding principles for content creation over the last several years,” says senior producer of content and development Calli Dollinger. Highlighting that kids today have to navigate everything from the pressures of social media to the trauma of the pandemic, dollinger adds, “It’s what our audience needs most right now.”

Four episodes will drop weekly throughout May, which is Mental Health Awareness month, with two more to be released for back-to-school.

The goal of the series is to make talking about feelings “cool,” says Dollinger. This factored into the choice of hosts—two girls on the older end of the target demo who are relatable but can also be presented as influential older sibling figures.

“We were very intentional about not using young kids or adults,” Dollinger explains. “We wanted to give kids aspirational guides who make emotional regulation feel cool and acceptable.”

Successful SEL content should emphasize the connection between the mind and the body in a fun and joyful way, Dollinger says. The idea is to get kids into the habit of checking in with themselves. “It’s the practice of caring for yourself,” she explains. “I think if that’s the guiding principle behind a company’s content and resources for kids, they really can’t go wrong.”

Another defining aspect of the project is its music, which has always been a signature of GoNoodle content, most notably evident in the hip hop-driven edutainment of Blazer Fresh and the call-and-repeat songs from Moose Tube. “Music is our bread and butter,” Dollinger says. “It’s how we’ve gotten through to kids in the past, and it’s how we’ll continue to develop content in the future.”

GoNoodle has a presence in 95% of US public elementary schools, according to the company’s most recent data. And this reach puts them in a strong position of accessibility, which Dollinger underlines as a priority. “Our platform is free and available to anyone who has access to the internet anywhere,” she says. “And we would like to keep it that way for as long as we can.”

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