From a pandemic to protests and a presidential election, 2020 has been a wild year so far. If adults can barely keep up, how do they talk to children about everything going on? That’s where a new podcast called “Catch Up Crew” comes in!
Each Friday, the podcast brings the week’s biggest news stories to children and their families in an understandable and manageable way. The idea is that families can listen together while they’re in the car, preparing meals together, taking a walk or just living their everyday lives.
“With everything that has been going on in the world these last few months, we felt there was a growing need of ways to inform children about current events,” creator and host, Sarah van Slagmaat, tells Parentology. A former music teacher and school psychologist in Special Education, she wanted to bring a podcast to families that could “fill that gap a little by bringing weekly news in an understandable, age-appropriate, nonpartisan way.”
Van Slagmaat and her crew are aiming to help children (roughly between the age of 8 to 12 years old) to start asking questions to their parents and caregivers, and giving those adults the tools and starting point for conversations with their children.
While some parents may want to shelter their kids from the new, “We believe that knowing what’s going on in the world is important for all ages — not only to be informed, but because it often affects your life and the lives of the people around you,” van Slagmaat says. She points to COVID as an example, which upended every aspect of people’s lives. “Not knowing what is going on can cause uncertainty and fear, while that’s not always necessary or reasonable. News should lead to more understanding, not confusion.”
While there are other news podcasts for kids, such as The Ten News and KidNuz, Catch Up Crew asks children to share their own stories as well. (This makes them part of the “Crew.”) Some inspiring children on the show have included:
- 8-year-old Aaron. He started a plant business when COVID hit to help his mom out and earn money to get his big sister back home from Mexico.
- 13-year-old Ania. Inspired by Michelle Obama, she’s become a small business owner as well, selling handmade, limited edition VOTE necklaces.
- Pierce Freelon and his 10-year-old daughter Stella. Together, they made a children’s music album called D.a.D, which is up for consideration for a GRAMMY Award.
“The show is a hit with children,” van Slagmaat says. “They tell us that the podcast makes them feel like they’re being taken seriously and are included in the news. It’s a podcast for children, but the writing style makes sure children don’t feel talked down to. As for adults, it’s a nice way to digest the news in an easier, lighter way. It also poses questions at the end of every item that encourages children to start thinking about the subject and form their own opinion — and then share that opinion! Listeners can leave a voice message on the podcast’s website that might be included in a future episode.”
The episodes can be found wherever you find your podcasts: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Deezer, Stitcher, etc. Or through the website www.catchupcrew.org. You can also follow the podcast on Instagram and Facebook.
Here’s a teaser for the podcast.