The fun and exciting animated puppet series Ackee Walk is set in a family-oriented community in Jamaica, teaching children about their rights and responsibilities and designed for preschoolers Ages 0-6 years. Ackee Walk, in its embryonic stage, has produced a first season with 26, 6 minute, episodes currently airing on Television Jamaica on Saturdays at 10:30 am.
May is Child Month and Ackee Walk’s main objective is to promote healthy children who are creating a strong nation and the creators of the series are encouraging teachers, nannies, caregivers and other early childhood practitioners to make sure that their children are watching the show. Ackee Walk is aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for quality education, peace, justice, strong social institutions, gender equality, climate action and reduced poverty and hunger, globally.
Ackee Walk’s Season 1 is an Emprezz Golding and Television Jamaica production and funded by UNICEF Jamaica. Emprezz and Steven Golding, creators of Ackee Walk, developed a team employing young people ages 14 to 22 to work on the project.
Research done by the UN in 2012 shows that early stimulation of children should be done in the home; however this is dependent on factors such as “parenting knowledge and expertise”. The same research refers to the Jamaican Profiles Project, which highlights that homes in poorer communities have little or no physical materials to stimulate children’s development especially in the area of mastering social skills.
In this regard Ackee Walk is the perfect tool as it provides an entertaining space that teaches lessons such as; self-identity, respect for those with disabilities and respect for the environment.
The creators and producers of Ackee Walk are definitely open to and looking for investors interested in early childhood development to join forces to develop and export this project to the world. This includes but isn’t limited to companies and business investors. World Bank research published in 2015 indicates that it is important to invest in early childhood development (ECD) as a child’s early years present a window for laying a strong foundation.
This foundation allows children to be able to interact positively with caregivers, extended family members, peers and teachers by the time they enter school. The research also indicates that failure to invest in ECD could be costly to the society and lists ‘greater educational success and productivity in life’ as a benefits of ECD.
Ackee Walk is a social enterprise using media to teach, to heal, to bring about change and to entertain the next generation in a meaningful and impactful way. Every aspect of Ackee Walk, from the characters to the community, is a reflection of Jamaica at its best, it’s most peaceful and functionally productive. Each episode ends with a message to reinforce the underlying principle of the episode. Respect is also a core principle that is incorporated into every episode.
To support Ackee Walk, we ask all parents, teachers and care givers during May to go to the Ackee Walk website www.ackeewalk.com to watch some of the complimentary episodes and complete the surveys so we can get feedback to aid in developing associated products and future Ackee Walk seasons.
The producers of the series also invite parents to share the series with their family and friends abroad to keep the children in the diaspora in touch with their Jamaican culture while learning about Ackee Walk’s number one rule “Nuff Respect”. Resource materials with information on the rights of the child including child rights education toolkits for educators and school administrators, are also available on the Ackee Walk website for teachers and parents. There are also general co-watching tips for parents.
“I am currently engaging a special Media and Child Education consultant to ensure each episode is accompanied by other supplementary material, in line with global teaching standards for that age group.”
– Emprezz Golding
We encourage all too watch selected episodes and kindly fill out our surveys.
For special Child Month interviews request with the creator of Ackee Walk, contact Emprezz Golding by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ackee Walk Character Profiles:
Lucea is a kind and intelligent 6-year-old girl from “country”, who moves to Ackee Walk when her parents emigrate to work abroad. She lives with her grandmother, Nana and spends most of her time with her cousin and best friend, Kingston. She is deeply interested in her culture and has many role models including Kingston’s mother Lorna, who she regards as the most beautiful woman in the world. She has a strong sense justice, is dedicated to truth and fairness and balances her love of singing and playing with her love of learning well. She has a special bond with Nana.
Kingston is a talented, energetic 6-year-old boy. Lucea is his cousin and best friend and they have many adventures together with other children in Ackee Walk. He has an enquiring mind and is always investigating issues in his community. He is an aspiring musician and has a strong sense of humour. He loves his parents and his community.
Gong, Kingston’s father, is married to Lorna, Kingston’s mother. He is a strong father figure with Rastafari influences and he is engaged in community-building initiatives to ensure that his community is safe for his son and all children. He takes control of his family life by spending time with his son, teaching him, providing for his physical needs and bonding with him through music and talk.
Lorna is Kingston’s mother and Gong’s wife. Although she works daily she always finds time to take care of her son and anyone else who may need her help. She is a strong black woman, who never hesitates to discipline Kingston but all children in Ackee Walk love her for her strong sense of fairness and her ability to have fun.
Nana is a traditional Jamaican granny. A retired teacher, she now lives in Ackee Walk and takes care of her granddaughter Lucea, while Lucea’s parents are abroad working. Nana is a loving grandmother who spends her time attending to Lucea’s developmental needs while ensuring that she remains connected to her culture. Nana is socially conscious and watches over the community, mothering everyone.
Sammy is a farmer who is an age-contemporary with Nana. He grows most of the food Ackee Walk residents consume and is particularly interested in preserving the environment and promoting farming as an important profession.
Miss Elizabeth teaches Lucea and Kingston at school. A patient and kind young woman, she is dedicated to not only educating her students but to inspiring them to contribute positively to the development of Ackee Walk. Education to her, goes beyond Math and English. It encompasses character building, skills acquisition and developing your talents. She has a close bond with her students and encourages them to think of her as a “Responsible Adult” who can help them solve any problem they may encounter.
St. Andrew is best friend to both Kingston and Lucea. Although he is unable to walk and uses a wheelchair, he is never left out of playtime and always has fun with Kingston and Lucea. He is a big part of their lives and often helps them solve problems. Through their friendship with St. Andrew, Kingston and Lucea have become aware of the issues people with disabilities face and always make sure he is included in conversations about developing Ackee Walk.