The Wiggles and UNICEF Australia join forces

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Blue Wiggle Anthony Field says it is reassuring to see emotional development is much more significant in preschool education since he last taught in a classroom.

The former teacher’s career and life changed significantly after The Wiggles took off both in Australia and internationally three decades ago.

But the emotional needs of young children have not.

“Children are the same as they were 33 years ago, but I do believe education in Australia has shifted to consider the child’s emotional wellbeing more than when I was teaching. Before it was all about the physical side of things, which is still very important, but I think we’re evolving,” said Anthony.

Anthony and his Wiggles bandmates have joined forces with UNICEF Australia to empower our youngest generation to express their emotions and face their challenges by launching a set of 12 Brave Little Books.

Blue Wiggle Anthony, who has been open about his mental health battle said it was important for children to be able to acknowledge emotions at the earliest stage of their development.

The books are aimed at children aged two to five years old, and parents can sign up from $25 per month to receive the books and accompanying activities and stickers in the mail with 100 per cent of those fees going to UNICEF Australia to support children in countries in crisis.

“We are all about making sure children can thrive and reach their full potential regardless of circumstances. The Brave Little Books hopefully inspire the young children to have a go, and that can be trying something new like going down the slippery slide or putting up their hand to ask a question at school. It’s confidence building which supports you as you get older.”

The books are a collective collaboration from The Wiggles but each member focuses on a particular topic. Anthony’s book is about courage and trying again, while Purple Wiggle John Pearce explains his book is about asking for help.

“Each one has tells a story about a different form of bravery, which children can relate to. For me it’s about feeling big and strong but asking for where it’s required to lift something heavy,” said John.

“It’s just about being brave and asking for help when you need it. For a lot of children, and adults too, it’s very difficult to ask for help when it’s most important.”

From a practical point of view, the money raised will support UNICEF Australia to help children in over 190 countries in areas of health, education and child protection.

Head of Brand and Campaigns at UNICEF Australia, Gemma Hill, said it was a no-brainer working with The Wiggles as they both share the same passion for children’s education, wellbeing and development.

“This book series started after consultations with groups of parents who told us that they wanted to raise really thriving, well-rounded children but struggled with things like time, feeling that they could be present and financial pressures. The other thing they flagged was resilience and courage, which is something that they really wanted children to learn about through those early years when they were experiencing new things like starting a new daycare or trying to learn new skills,” said Gemma.

“The books really open up a really meaningful connection moment between parents and children to talk about what those emotions mean, and we know how important those emotional conversations are. So these are just a really fun, engaging way that children don’t realise having the conversation that they’re doing these sticker packs and activities while talking about these really big and important topics.”

MORE: unicef.org.au/wigglesbooks