run-dmc preschool podcast

Early literacy strategies that stick with Darryl from Run-DMC and Makeda from Nickelodeon [Podcast]

This week on The Preschool Podcast we have a very exciting episode! We are overjoyed to welcome Darryl McDaniels, Co-founder of Run-DMC and Makeda Mays Green, Vice President of Digital Consumer Insights at Nickelodeon to the podcast! We discuss Darryl’s journey as an early literacy advocate and how he and Makeda work closely together. We dive deep into early literacy strategies that stick and how educators can use digital tools, including music, to support literacy learning as early as Pre-K.

darryl mcdaniels run-dmc quote

The latest K-2 assessment data shows that children who missed out on pre-K and kindergarten are significantly behind in early literacy skills, especially Black and Hispanic students. Educators, parents, and guardians need engaging interventions to help our youngest learners catch up. Some of these interventions are found in media and music.

Songs are just like stories that children see in books. They inspire, motivate and educate while entertaining children so that they can grow up to be passionate individuals. There is nothing a child can’t do when they have literacy in their lives.

Literacy is so empowering, you can relate to the characters you read or hear about. Books should be available 24/7 to children so that they can see themselves in the characters.

The only time I saw children like me growing up was in comic books”

Darryl McDaniels

There is a need for children to read and experience books and music in real-time. As educators, we have to be confident and courageous enough to introduce more books to schools that are relatable for their children. Having situations and emotions that you can relate to in literary creations helps drive growth and learning.

Children need to explore finding their voice through written text. Try giving them tools, materials, and experiences that enhance and empower their growth. We can make learning not only fun but cool through music.

Children can have fun and learn at the same time.”

Makeda Mays Green

Literacy learning can be a part of an everyday routine, anywhere! Listen to the full episode for FREE below!

Makeda and Darryl’s recommended resources:

Podcast Episode Transcript

Darryl McDANIELS:

It’s all about creativity and expression is a big part of this. Not only these children see themselves in literacy, we’ve got to give them permission to be themselves with the literacy that we give them.

Ron SPREEUWENBERG: 

Makeda and Daryl, welcome to the Preschool Podcast!

Makeda Mays GREEN:

Thanks for having us!

McDANIELS:

Hello, thank you for having us!

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Yeah, our pleasure to have you! We’re so excited to have Makeda Mays Green with us. She’s the vice president of digital consumer insights at Nickelodeon. And Darryl McDaniels, co-founder of Run-D.M.C., and also somebody who’s a real advocate for early literacy. So, delighted to have you both with us today on the Preschool Podcast.

As we always do, starting off, would love to learn a little bit about you and who you are. , let’s start with you. Nickelodeon, I think a company and a brand that a lot of our listeners will recognize. Tell us a little bit about how you got there and what you do at Nickelodeon.

GREEN:

Sure, sure. So, as you mentioned, I’m the vice president of digital consumer insights at Nickelodeon. And this has really been part of the trajectory of my career. I started my career in children’s media because I wanted to make an impact. And as I continue to think about where I want to be, Nickelodeon just feels like home.

For the past few years, I’ve been able to help inform the development of many of our products, particularly our educational products working alongside my esteemed colleague such as Kristen Kane and Michael Levine and Sean Farrell over on the Noggin side, which is Nickelodeon’s interactive platform for kids [ages] 2 to 7 years old, while at the same time leveraging the popularity and love that kids have of our characters, including Paw Patrol and Bubble Guppies, to name a few.

In addition to that, I’m responsible for working alongside many of the what I consider best researchers in the industry to deliver insights across landscape findings, things related to diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as YouTube, what kids are watching across those various platforms and keeping our pulse on the ever-changing environment of the digital ecosystem. So, it’s really a great pleasure to be here and of course, working with the phenomenal, incomparable Darryl DMC McDaniels.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Awesome. We certainly get a lot of Paw Patrol and Bubble Guppies here at my house. So, big thumbs up there. Darryl, I think a lot of folks will know about Run DMC, but may not know why you’re here with us on the Preschool Podcast today. So, tell us a little bit about your story.

McDANIELS:

Well, I’m DMC in the place to be. I went to St. John’s University. Since kindergarten, I acquired the knowledge. After 12th grade I went straight to college. King of Rock from Hollis, Queens and I love eating chicken and collard greens. Well, basically, the reason why I’m here: when I was a little kid, all I did was love to read. I loved education. I was a straight-A student; I was one of those kids that got teased, bullied and picked on because I loved the first day of school and hated the summer vacation. And kids do need a break. But me, it was like, that’s going three months without learning and reading and writing. But long story short, it was literacy that taught me how to navigate myself and my surroundings and my environment and my real world.

One of the things that I really, really, really, really loved to read was comic books. All I did was read, collect and draw comic books. But the fact that I was always reading made me a good student. And the inspiration and motivation to want to read more is, I need to understand what Tony Stark and Professor X and Reed Richards [comic book characters] was talking about in these comic books.

So, it made me paid attention in science; it made me pay attention in social studies. Stan Lee was brilliant to create the Marvel comic books because DC was cool for me, but Gotham and Metropolis [comic book cities] was fictional. Stan Lee really put the superheroes in New York. So, every time I read a Marvel comic book, I was getting a geography lesson about the real world that I lived in. Long story short, it taught me about Harlem and the Lower East Side and Hell’s Kitchen.

And across the board from Pippi Longstocking to Charlotte’s Web, what people need to realize is, even though we’re reading stories about other characters and individuals, literacy is important to young people because it teaches them about themselves, their emotions, their situations and their surroundings. So, reading comic books, reading Charlotte’s Web, reading Pippi Longstocking and reading all of these books actually taught me about myself, the emotions and everything.

And all of that energy and content actually, Ron, went in to prepare me to make these records. When you listen to Run-D.M.C. records, “I’m the King of Rock, there is none higher,” “I’m DMC in a place to be,” “It’s Christmas time in Hollis, Queens,” the way I projected myself on these hip-hop records was just like the stories and the emotions and the situations that the people were getting in your book. That’s why Run-D.M.C.’s music resonated so much.

So, basically I’m here because I’ve been honored and chosen to assist Nickelodeon on what they were already doing to inspire, motivate, educate while entertaining our young people so that they could grow up to be dynamic, purposeful and potent individuals when they get older. So, I guess I kind of represent why I’m a perfect example of what happens when literacy is used to empower our young people. There is nothing that they cannot be able to do.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

I love that. And it certainly resonates with me because my kids are also super into comics and they’re into the Avengers. And Tony Stark is a very common name in our household. And I have my four year old, he knows more about New York, like Manhattan and Queens and stuff because of Spider-man.

McDANIELS:

Right, literacy is so, so empowering. And it’s good that you brought it up for me. When I found out that Peter Parker, Spider-Man is from Queens like me, so imagine what that did to my morale. And another thing, especially with our kids in certain communities, they don’t have access to a lot of the education, a lot of educational resources that other communities have. That’s why books, comic books and poetry books, books should be available 24 hours, seven days a week for children in certain communities because even if they’re reading about these adventures and these characters, they will see themselves in these individuals.

When I was reading the comic books, growing up in Hollis, Queens I wasn’t in a gang. I wasn’t with the kids playing hooky. I wasn’t rolling with the kids that didn’t want to be nice, polite and educate themselves. So, the only time I saw individuals that was like me, that was nerdy, geeky, awkward and educated, was in the comic books. But in the comic books, these individuals that were nerdy, geeky but smart and educated, but awkward, trying to figure out their lives. They had personal things that they wasn’t good at like me.

So, that resonated with me and that gave me the confidence when I walked out my bedroom, when I walked out my front door to go to school or to go out on the block and play. I saw individuals like myself. We ain’t the best – it’s kind of awkward, we’re trying to figure life out. But they were super-powered. So, me and Peter Parker, when I was reading Peter Parker, it was like I’m seeing myself.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Yeah, that’s awesome. And you mention underprivileged communities and access to books and reading. And you also mentioned that you felt a bit different and maybe you were even made fun of or bullied.

McDANIELS:

Yeah, teased, bullied and picked on.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

How do you think we can get more books in the hands of young children, in particular in these underprivileged communities, and kind of get rid of that stigma of it’s not cool to read?

McDANIELS:

I mean, there needs more dialog; there needs to be more interaction; there needs to be more connection with our educational entities. And what I’m noticing, I just did a children’s book called Darryl’s Dreams with Nickelodeon, through Random House. And what I’m noticing is, I’m not the first person to make a children’s book, but the teachers and the educators are going ballistic for my book. So, I see that there’s a need, not just because it’s DMC. I mean, a lot of the teachers are excited because, “Oh my God, this is the King of Rock in third grade.” But when they look at the stories, it’s exactly what the children need to read and experience in real time for them in their current situation.

So, I think what needs to be done is, we have to get proactive. We have to be confident enough and courageous enough to take these books and take these comic books and take these graphic novels and introduce them to the schools. And then I think we’ll have a victory. I mean, the schools are starving for relevant, up-to-date, relatable material that the kids need to read.

And there’s so many great writers out there. I mean, all the classics are great, Pippi Longstocking and Charlotte’s Web. But a lot of kids of certain communities can’t relate to Pippi Longstocking and Charlotte’s Web because they don’t live on a farm. So, when I was doing my book, Darryl’s Dream, it’s like I said in my rhyme. When these children see and hear a Run-D.M.C. song, they see their mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles. And I’ve been around so long that their grandmothers and grandfathers know about me.

So, I was giving them growing up in this hip-hop generation to their mothers and fathers. They was getting my stories through the music. “Son of Byford, brother of Al, Banna’s my mother, Run’s my pal.” That’s very visual. So, in order for me to connect to these kids who do know my music, but they don’t know DMC, they just know “Tricky” [Run DMC song] because of Tik-Tok.

And it’s brilliant what Nickelodeon is doing with Noggin, we’ll talk about that too. But what I’m saying is, I was like, “How do I communicate with these elementary school kids that wasn’t even in existence when I was there?” They see the result. They see this dynamic man DMC that created hip-hop and changed the world. How do I show them that I’m no different from y’all? You could be me.

If you remember my first rhyme, “DMC in the place to be, I go to” – I’m here now – “St. John’s University. But since kindergarten, I acquired the knowledge.” I said, “Whoa,” I gave myself how to start my mission. You see DMC now, the world knew DMC from when I graduated high school to when I hooked up with Run and Jam Master Jay. And we hooked up with Aerosmith, to “Walk This Way”, and “Our ADIDAS”, and tell the world how tricky life is.

I realized, man, I could tell Darryl was a in third grade. Darryl was in kindergarten. So, let me put this little DMC Darryl guy in their environment. Ron, our work environments is our families, our work environments is friends, right? And our households. It’s the same thing for our children. Their environments is their households, their backyards, their blocks, their neighborhood, but also their classrooms and schoolyards.

And Ron, believe you me, we are stressed out. This pandemic has done a number on all of mankind. But the kids are going through stresses, too. Their stress is peer pressure and bullying and getting teased and picked on and feeling down because they got a C instead of an A like the smartest kids in their class. So I was like, let me put DMC, a real-life person, into their world. And I don’t want them to see the greatness of DMC and Run DMC. I want them to see the potential and the greatness and that in them.

So, literacy… the reason why you like Luke Skywalker and the reason why you like the Powerpuff Girls and the reason why you like Tony [Stark], the reason why you like all of these adventures, there’s situations and emotion that you can relate to in these, literally in these literary creations. So it’s imperative for us to be proactive and start introducing books that we as adults discover that we think would be phenomenal for our children. Children just don’t read literacy, children experience literacy.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Yeah, and that point about the relatability is really resonating. And certainly something we’ve talked about in the Preschool Podcast before, just in terms of making reading and learning both fun, exciting, but relatable so it doesn’t even feel like learning.

McDANIELS:

Right, exactly.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

That’s the trick.

McDANIELS:

Exactly, for sure.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

And so Darryl, you’ve been a great mentor for young children with the work that you’re doing. And I think I’m curious to know your thoughts, Makeda. So, you’re here today with Darryl, and so obviously you’re a big supporter of trying to get more folks like Darryl in front of communities where Darryl grew up and his experiences and trying to have more repeatable models like that. Can you talk a little bit about some of the things that you’re seeing, in regards to early literacy? And whether that’s digital or print, because I’m sure maybe there’s some shifts happening there, as well.

GREEN:

Sure, absolutely. I just have to say, listening to Darryl talk, it’s so clear how much passion he has, about not only this project but about people and making sure that they’re all living their best lives and showing up as their best selves. And literacy is just one way in which we’re using our partnership in order to be able to do that. So, it has really been an honor and a pleasure to work with him.

I think to your question, Ron, one of the things about this work that we’re doing right now –with Noggin, in particular, as well as Nickelodeon – is that we are doing work that is not just necessary but timely. We know for sure that the pandemic has exacerbated challenges for many students, particularly when it comes to learning and more specifically when it comes to literacy.

There is a recent study published by Amplify. And looking at the data, they found that the basic early literacy skills of kids between kindergarten and fifth grade showed big gaps in those fundamental reading skills, big gaps when they compared the results from 2019 to 2022. And some of the most significant drops were in those earliest grades.

So, what this tells us is that this work right now is imperative. We can’t afford to waste another minute to make sure that we’re reaching kids. Daryl’s Dream is one way in which we’re encouraging kids to explore creativity, confidence, finding their voice through written text. In addition to that, we have also engaged with exploring other components of literacy. We know that literacy is comprised of listening, speaking, reading and writing. And music is one way to execute on all of that.

So speaking to a Darryl said earlier about What’s The Word, it is a series of short-form music videos, as well as songs you can find on Spotify, as well as other music streaming platforms, that show kids how to think about and use big, juicy vocabulary words featuring the Young DMC. I encourage you, Ron, I think your toddler you mentioned earlier would love it. Kids as well as adults, and even the grandparents that Darryl spoke about, really love this work.

And it’s a wonderful opportunity to see Young DMC expressing all areas of entertainment, education and motivation. So, we have all of those things wrapped up in one because the love of literacy is really a love of learning. And music is a tool that we’re using to engage kids in really exciting ways at this time, and which is so, so necessary.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Very cool. And so there’s lots of things that you’re focusing on with regards to early literacy. And you mentioned Noggin. Tell us a bit more about Noggin and what that’s all about. And if folks that are listening want to learn more about that and access that, how do they go about doing that?

GREEN:

Absolutely. Noggin is Nickelodeon’s interactive learning platform for kids ages 2 to 7 years old. It features so many of our beloved characters, including Paw Patrol, Bubble Guppies, Peppa Pig, the list goes on and on. And kids are able to go on the platform and engage in watching videos; they’re able to play interactive games; they’re able to listen to songs and music, including What’s The Word. You can visit www.Noggin.com. You can check it out across other platforms, as well.

But I encourage everyone from adults and kids alike to really go on and see all that Noggin has to offer. We make a concerted effort to ensure that we are enriching kids in meaningful ways. And we do that through our learning team. We have a team of early-childhood experts led by Dr. Michael Levine. And with the learning platform, we’re making sure that we’re reaching kids across avenues to enhance their literacy skills, enhance their mathematic skills.

Also thinking about social and emotional development. To Darryl’s point, we know that this has been a particularly challenging time in the past couple of years with the pandemic. And parents are not only concerned about their kid’s academic achievement, they want to know that their kids are going to be okay. Noggin provides a rich, safe space to help kids express themselves, to help them learn, while encouraging them to be entertained along the way.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Awesome. What’s a couple of your favorites from Noggin?

GREEN:

Well, Darryl, I’m sure you have a couple of favorites.

McDANIELS:

Of course, What’s The Word. And that’s the beautiful thing, Ron. Noggin and Nickelodeon was already on this mission. And how the whole relationship came about, I said I had this idea for the book, they saw my book. Originally I was shopping the book around and everybody wanted me to change it. And when I brought it to Nickelodeon, they was like, “This is perfect. Just this is exactly what the kids need to experience.” And I was like, “Really?” And they was like, “Yo, we want to do this book with you.” And this book is the first in a series of books.

But then while we were sitting there, they was already utilizing sight, sound, feeling stories and music to do that. And when it was time to use some hip-hop, they looked across the table and they realized they got the king of hip-hop sitting right there. And the cool thing about it was, there’s such a power in the idea of expression. And what I’m trying to say is this: Ron, all of us have learned ourselves, learned word, sight, sound, definition and pronunciation through music. And it’s so simple but so dynamic, what Noggin is doing, along with Nickelodeon.

And the way I can answer that question is, when we learned the ABC’s, it wasn’t difficult because since language was formed, ABC’s was always taught to us through rhythm. ABCDEFG, HIJKLMNOP, QRS, TUV, W,X, Y [and Z]. That’s one of the most common, familiar rhymes, hip-hop rhymes in the whole world. So, that rhythm and that feeling goes and makes learning fun and easy.

So when they said, “We want to teach kids big words,” our children are phenomenal. Ron, you got children. I know Sometimes you look at your kids and say, “Where is this coming from?” It’s already there. Noggin and Nickelodeon [are] tapping in to the great linguistic, educational, vocational abilities of our children. We shouldn’t delay the learning advancement of our children. So, let’s give tools; let’s give them methods; let’s give them experiences that enhance and empower their growth.

The children, I’m speaking to third and fourth graders. So, they might not know the “King of Rock” “Walk This Way”, ADIDAS-wearing DMC. But if I say “It’s tricky to rock a rhyme”, they go, “Oh my God, that’s you?” You know what I’m saying? So, from kids in certain communities, not only seeing themselves, these children need to be given learning methods and procedures and experiences that they can flourish in.

GREEN:

Daryll, I love that. That’s what I love about working with you so much, because through you in this partnership with Noggin and Nickelodeon, we make learning not only fun, we make it cool. So kids are able to see learning through these creative models. And when you think about music, it does so much to enhance who they are and what they know. It’s promoting listening skills, language acquisition, building memory, introducing new vocabulary. We’re doing all of this in a way that allows kids to have fun and learn at the same time. So, it’s really a win-win all around.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Yeah, you all are really on to something really exciting here. And here’s a question for you, Makeda: How do we get something like What’s The Word in front of more children who can benefit from something like this? You mentioned earlier diversity, equity and inclusion. Sometimes the children who can get access to these types of things are the ones that already have the privilege to have access to a lot of books and educational materials. How do we get in front of those who aren’t as privileged?

GREEN:

I think it’s a great question that you’re asking, Ron. And I think it goes to the larger notion of accessibility and making sure that we’re creating an equal and level playing ground for kids from all backgrounds to be able to amplify what we’re doing, but also to give them access to the knowledge so that they too are experiencing this. They’re growing with us together and they’re learning at the same time.

And so with What’s The Word in particular, yes, you can access it on Noggin. But you can also go to YouTube. And if you type in What’s The Word and Noggin, you can see “Habit”, which I know Darryl loves that song. I go and listen to it frequently. But that’s part of the mission. We are always thinking about ways in which we are going to reach our audiences and amplify the work that we’re doing while being as inclusive as possible. So, that is just another avenue as an opportunity to be able to engage with our content in a meaningful way.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Awesome. We’ve talked about a lot of exciting concepts today and things that are not just concepts, but you all are making a reality, which is amazing to see. What are any resources you might want to share with our audience here today? We have early-childhood educators, we have parents listening. Any ideas in terms of what they can check out to learn more about early literacy or what they can do in the classroom or at home to help children with their literacy skills at an early age?

GREEN:

I think there are a couple of things. One, we want to make sure that people know that literacy and literacy acquisition, literacy learning, can be a part of your everyday routine. It’s not something where you have to say, “Okay, I’m going to carve out between 4:30 and 5:15 to do literacy with my kid.” Literacy can happen while you’re cooking and looking at different recipes. Literacy can happen while you’re in the grocery store.

One of my favorite things I would do with my kids is, we go to the store and say, “Let’s find all the things that start with the letter B.” So you’re thinking about phonics as you look for bananas and bagels. Those can be a part of those everyday rich literacy moments. And of course, at home, taking opportunities to build literacy-rich environments, making sure that there are books around in an accessible place for kids to access.

Taking advantage of opportunities to not just read to your child, but read with your child. So, dialogic reading opportunities where you’re reading books together, conversing as you read, asking questions about what they see on the page, what they predict will happen, making those connections to things that they might have done in their day-to-day lives on their own, I think are really, really strong opportunities to continue to elevate the work around literacy and help build kids’ literacy skills.

In addition to that, from a resource perspective, I certainly urge the audience to check out www.Noggin.com, as well as www.BigHeartWorld.org, our partnership with Sparkler. There are a lot of great resources there for families, parents, as well as educators. And of course, we have phenomenal content for kids.

McDANIELS:

Yep. And one more thing, Ron, too: I think especially in this day and age, we have to let our children get creative. We can’t tell the children, “No, you can’t do it like that.” One of the things that’s so brilliant about Nickelodeon, when I put my whole book together, my book ends with Darryl’s Rap. It’s actually parts of a rap that I wrote when I was like 12 years old. I just expanded on it to have something at the end of the book for the kids to read.

And it’s so brilliant that the way the book is put together, there’s a blank page up to Darryl’s Rap. So, when I read to the kids when I visit the schools, I end it with Darryl’s Rap. They think it’s phenomenal. But then I go, “Hold up, kids, we ain’t finished yet. You see this blank page here? This is for you to write your name and then write your rap about yourself.” And then some of the kids feel a little intimidated by it and stuff like that.

But we have to make it easy and we have to make it so that kids are able to communicate what’s inside of them in the way that they want to do. I had to remind some kids that all poetry doesn’t have to rhyme. They’re like, “Huh, what?” I said, “You can just write. You’re going to write what you want to be and how you see yourself now.” And a lot of kids get intimidated: “I can’t rap like you and Eminem.” I say, “No, your poetry don’t have to rhyme.” They’re like, “Really?” No, you can just write. Your poetry is how you feel about yourself.

So one of the things that I love that we do, we let the kids get creative. Like ,when I visit the school, I don’t just talk, read and leave. We open up for question-and-answer, we open up for Q&A. Sometimes these kids will say, “Well, I don’t see it this way. I see it like this.” And they’ll say something that even me and Makeda wasn’t thinking of. And that kid will get a standing ovation.

So, we’ve got to use literacy to get those kids to open up. And one of the things [about] how incredible literacy is in all shapes, forms and fashion, like Makeda just said: I went to Catholic school. So, I had a lot of teachers that were nuns. And then I had a lot of the late teachers, the everyday teachers. I had this one nun, she would take… now, I know I’m not supposed to be readig a book in class, but I would finish my work. So, I’m not waiting to read my Spider-man comic ‘til I get home.

So, rightfully so, when that book was standing up on my desk, the teachers knew what I was doing. “Mr. McDaniels, bring it here.” And I would have to give them my book. Some of the teachers wouldn’t give me my books back. But a lot of the teachers at the end of the day, they gave me my comic book back because they put two and two together. The fact that, “I don’t care that this kid’s reading a comic book. He’s a good student and he’s reading every day.” So, they didn’t deprive me of the opportunity to learn in the way that was necessary and good for me. That’s one of the things that we got to do.

And to answer your question earlier: What’s happening with my children’s book is, a lot of the parents are getting proactive. A lot of the parents are already in these reading programs where once a week a parent comes to school and reads to the kids. So, what’s been happening with my book, the teacher’s have been giving the parents a list of books. And they’re not even going by the books. They’re discovering my book and they’re bringing in my book to read and the kids are going ballistic over it.

And because it’s having a good effect to their students, the teachers and educators don’t mind the parents going off-script because they’re bringing something that’s beneficial to the students. So, it’s all about creativity and expression as a big part of this. Not only do these children see themselves in literacy, we’ve got to give them permission to be themselves with the literacy that we give them.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Yeah, I love that. Everything you’re sharing here is just going to really resonate with our listeners here today, many of whom are early-childhood educators and understand just how important reading is. And it doesn’t matter what you’re reading. And I love that, whether you’re reading a comic book in the back of class or you’re reading a recipe with your parents while they’re cooking, like you were saying, Makeda. It’s all learning, which is awesome.

So cool, I love the work that you’re doing. And I think the power of each of you coming together, Darryl and Makeda, I think is a really great learning for everyone else out there about what we can do when we bring to two different parties together like yourself, Darryl and Makeda at Nickelodeon and really make a difference. And I loved hearing the stories.

Now, I do have one thing I have to say before we wrap up, which is we talked a little bit about grandparents before. My grandpa bought a Run DMC cassette for my older brother, which was one of the first albums I got really into.

McDANIELS:

Wow!

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Yeah, we were like, “Wow, our grandpa’s cool!”

McDANIELS:

Yes, it’s funny that you say that, Ron. One of the things that DMC and Nickelodeon is trying to do, we’re trying to make our kids understand that everybody can be cool together.

GREEN:

That’s right.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Yeah, you can be cool with your grandpa.

McDANIELS:

Yes, exactly.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

I listened to that album front-to-back probably a thousand times and knew all the lyrics to every song.”

McDANIELS:

See? That’s what we’re trying to do with Noggin on the What’s The Word series.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Awesome.

GREEN:

Bridging that inter-generational gap.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

I lived it the learning-through-listening-to-music, so it’s great.

McDANIELS:

For sure. See, your grandfather is cool. Don’t front on Grandma and Grandpa.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Alright, so Makeda, you mentioned a couple of places where folks can learn more about Nickelodeon, about Noggin. Do you want to just share those again before we wrap up?

GREEN:

Absolutely. So please, please check us out. One thing I will say as we end is, remember, as we’re thinking about music, it’s not just a listening tool, it’s a literacy tool. So, definitely keep that in mind. Literacy and music are so intertwined. And we have music and so much more in the Noggin app. You can visit us at www.Noggin.com. You can also visit our new YouTube channel, so look us up on YouTube at Noggin to find more content there. And also visit more resources that are available for parents, educators and families at www.BigHeartWorld.org.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Alright, and Daryll, if our listeners want to follow you or learn more about the stuff you’re up to, how can they follow you or get in touch with you?

McDANIELS:

Yeah, the Instagram for DMC with all the music and the fashion and the cool ADIDAS stuff, my Instagram is @KingDMC. And then also I have a comic book company that actually started five years ago, Ron. And I actually started my own independent comic book company, it’s called Daryll Makes Comics, DMC. And we’ve been around for five years, so you can follow me on Instagram at @DMCMakesComics.

So, I started the comic book company because at first, I loved comic books but I didn’t want to do a comic book because I don’t want my fellow geeks and nerds mad at me thinking, “Oh, just because he got some good raps, he think he can do everything.” But my partner and friend who encouraged me to do the comic book, he said this to me. He said, “D, you can do the same thing with the comic books that you used to love that you’ve been doing with your music for the last 40 years.” I was like, “What are you talking about?” He said, “You can inspire, motivate, educate and entertain.” So, people can also check out all the stories, all the books, all artwork on Instagram at @DMCMakesComics.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

To do what you love to do and take that right back to your childhood days and loving comic books, I’ll tell you what, our early-childhood education folks listening here today will love that story. Life is about play, learning is about play.

McDANIELS:

And it should be fun.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Yeah, and you’re totally taking that to heart and it’s a great story. Makeda, Daryll, it’s been so wonderful having you on the Preschool Podcast today. Thank you for everything you’re doing and thank you for joining us on the Podcast.

McDANIELS:

Thank you, thank you.

GREEN:

Thanks so much, Ron!

McDANIELS:

So, my new slogan is, “Preschool Rules!”

SPREEUWENBERG: 

I love it!

Christie White

Christie is a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at HiMama. She is passionate about children's development, parenting, and supporting the child care industry. She has been working to support child care centers with their events and marketing for almost a decade. In her personal life, Christie lives in Stouffville, ON with her husband Kyle and dog Tucker. She enjoys going for walks, baking, cooking, and watching reality tv!

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