Mattel’s new season of Thomas & Friends in Nick Jr.‘s preschool block launches a two-year collaboration with the United Nations (UN), which will promote the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to kids.
The Thomas & Friends production team collaborated with the UN Department of Public Information’s Creative Community Outreach Initiative to develop content inspired by six of the 17 SDGs deemed most appropriate for a preschool audience. The selected SDGs are #4: Quality Education, #5: Gender Equality, #6: Clean Water and Sanitation, #11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, #12: Responsible Consumption and Production, and #15: Life on Land.
This collaboration will also include parent tips, activity sheets, and short-form content available on a new microsite, allaboardforglobalgoals.com. The content and parent targeted materials looks to introduce preschoolers around the world to the concept of global citizenship and start meaningful conversations between parents and children.
The collaboration was launched at the United Nations Headquarters with a roundtable event supported Olivia Wilde, actress, filmmaker, and activist; Maher Nasser, the director of the outreach division in the United Nations Department of Public Information; Ian McCue, senior producer of Thomas & Friends; Tolulope Lewis-Tamoka, UN Women’s Africa program advisor; and Richard Dickson, president and chief operating officer of Mattel.
Following market research with kids and parents around the world, the relaunched show will have a more contemporary feel, a new theme tune, and a refreshed Steam Team to ensure gender equality across the show.
Also, for the first time in the series’ history, Thomas leaves Sodor to travel. He discovers new cultures and countries including China, India, and Australia. The series will feature characters from around the world, including the new African steam engine from Kenya called Nia, Ashima from India, Yong Bao from China, and Shane from Australia.
The new episodes feature faster-paced stories with more humor, music, animal characters, and fantasy sequences. The series will break the fourth wall for the first time, with Thomas narrating the story himself.