Family life in a big, spread-out city like Los Angeles is different than it is elsewhere, so why shouldn't kids' activities here reflect that uniqueness? LA native Meredith Sloane, one of the creators of the Little Soul Productions series of kids interactive DVDs, seems to agree. Once children reach age six, she says, schools no longer focus on strengthening their emotional muscles. They instead try and beef up kids' mental faculties and physical stamina, beginning a stressful a competitive race that they'll run for years to come.
"It happens in big cities like LA, but I think it happens everywhere," says Sloane, a public relations specialist and reiki practitioner. "Kids get disconnected from all those great things that they're born with. It's like any muscle. If you don't use it, it atrophies." Her kids DVDs--which champion mental and spiritual health for children--may be the answer.
In Little Soul Productions DVDs like Self Esteem, kids have a great time while doing exercises that help nourish internal strength and well-being. They engage in entertaining, spiritually healthy activities that they can share with their parents.
Sloane's partners in Little Soul Productions are entrepreneur Brooke Sloane (her sister) and life coach, parenting expert and former Gymboree owner Teri Johnson. The DVDs converge around the adorable mascot character "Heartly"--a goofy dancing, singing life-sized heart-- as an emblem of the positive, loving feelings its creators hope to foster in children.
Kids of All Ages Have Little Souls
An overachiever since childhood, Brooke Sloane learned firsthand what it was like to grow up in a high stakes academic environment that causes children to get out of balance and suffer emotionally and physically. She attended an exclusive competitive private school in the Valley and then went on to Northwestern University in Chicago.
"Brooke was so out of balance that at 24 she had a stroke," recalls her sister Meredith. She turned to Eastern medicine as well as Western medicine to heal from the massive trauma to her body and soul. "She realized while sitting on the acupuncture table recovering from the stroke that she had neglected her emotional side and wanted to develop this DVD for kids because she didn't want them to go through what she had to go through." And so Little Soul Productions has become a very effective part of Brooke Sloane's own personal healing process.
Kids Love Heartly
The 30-minute DVD Self-Esteem is split into three parent/child activity sections. In it, five children from ages four through seven get introduced to the energetic and lovable Heartly--the giant wide-eyed heart that wears rainbow striped stockings.
Kids and parents learn a modified yoga sequence called "Good Morning Sun." During the animated 'Me Box 'activity children are asked to take shoe boxes and decorate them with things that represent their "special gifts." For example, a kid who likes to take care of his baby brother might put a photo of him on the box. The activity also includes a guided meditation called "Listening to Your Heart." It teaches children how to slow down and identify their intuition, a tool they sharpen to help them make decisions.
In a music video section of the DVD they learn to do the "Heartly Hop," which Meredith Sloane says is "about feeling and spreading your love." In the catchy, bass-slapping clap-track dance song Heartly tells kids: "Hands to the floor, hands up above, hands to your heart, feel all your love," while the kids hop up and down.
A Parent Guide is also included free of charge with each DVD. It offers information about the activities taught on the DVD as well as other suggestions on how to get the most out of it.
The Sloanes and Johnson are setting up positive parenting classes that use the DVD's philosophy and framework, throughout LA. And of course, Heartly is available on request for children's birthday parties--where "The Heartly Hop" could well end up being more popular than the "Marcarena."
Purchasing and Services Info for Little Soul Productions
The DVD and more info on classes and Heartly, is available through Little Soul Productions' website . The DVD is also available at the following Southern California retail locations:
Sophie's Education Corner
2699 Thousand Oaks Blvd.
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
3825-P East Thousand Oaks Blvd.
Westlake Village, CA 91362