Family & Parenting

Young viewers invited to journey to Wild Meadows with Ladybird and Bee

IF you're keen for your toddler or pre-schooler to love nature and appreciate the need for biodiversity, then RTÉjr's colourful animation series Ladybird & Bee gives you the perfect opportunity.

For little beasties Ladybird and Bee, Wild Meadow is a place of big adventure, big fun and big friendship for the best friends.

As they journey through Wild Meadow, they befriend other inhabitants: grasshoppers, caterpillars and even worms who live underground.

Their adventures reveal the important part each creature plays in nature, illustrating ecosystems in a way that young children can understand.

The programme is the brainchild of Holywood-based children's TV production company, Paper Owl Films.

"We wanted to come up with an idea that showed the youngest children that the smallest things play a very big part in the world," explains Paper Owl Films' creative director, Gráinne Mc Guinness.

Neurodiversity and biodiversity are subjects close to her heart and that of Paper Owl's - they also created the CBeebies show Pablo, which features a 5-year-old boy on the autism spectrum.

"There is not one critter in this show that is the same. We've got larvae, caterpillars, ladybirds, bees, butterflies and birds and they are all important," says Gráinne.

Recognising how music is important for the pre-school age group, each two-minute long episode of Ladybird & Bee has its own unique score and audio world of quirky and gentle music to represent the sounds of life above and below our meadows.

Having originally aired as an Irish-language version, Bóín agus Beach (still available on the RTE player), Ladybird & Bee premieres this week on RTEjr.

There are 26 episodes in series one, with a second series currently being planned.

"It's great to see a small indigenous show, originally created in the Irish language about an Irish meadow translated into English for the international market.

"It's tremendous to be sharing the universal themes of friendship and diversity," adds Gráinne, grateful for the funding the programme received from Northern Ireland Screen's Irish Language Broadcast Fund and Screen Fund.

The programme makers hope that Ladybird & Bee will encourage and inspire young children to explore the joy of nature on their own doorsteps, gardens and parks.

"Even if you only have a window box there is a wealth of life in that to be enjoyed," enthuses Gráinne.

There are also accompanying Ladybird & Me activities available online, including colouring sheets and scavenger hunts.

:: Ladybird & Bee airs weekdays at 7am, 7.03am, 9.12am and 12.30pm on RTÉjr and RTÉ Player.

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Family & Parenting