TV show says si to kids

By Chito de la Torre
    In San Antonio, you can tune into it every Saturday at 7:30 in the morning,
or is that en la manana?  It doesn't matter whether you and your children
speak Spanish or English, you will enjoy and understand The World of Mayte.

    Also known as El Mundo de Mayte, this new bilingual children's show is great,
especially for a city like San Antonio where many people grow up speaking both
Spanish and English and those who don't wish they had.
  But the show is not limited to San Antonio.  It is in a total of 86 markets
across the US.

    The World of Mayte seemed like a natural project for Mayte, the show's host,
not just because she is very comfortable in front of a camera, but also
because her two children are growing up in a completely bilingual environment.

    "My children speak Spanish to me and English to their father," says Mayte, a
former Univision news corespondent and singer.  "One day I was buying this
video for my son when I said `let's start thinking about a bilingual show for
kids.'  If my kids are bilingual, I know there has to be many others."  In
fact, when Mayte first began to develop the idea, her kids were like the
executive producers telling her what worked and what didn't.

    One of the wonderful things about the World of Mayte is that kids don't have
to start out bilingual to enjoy it.  That's because the show teaches both
languages simultaneously.  If a child doesn't understand a word in one
language, it will be almost immediately repeated in a language they do know.  
Come to think of it, it's probably just as good for adults who want to learn a
second language.

    The show reminds me a little of Captain Kangaroo.  It has songs, games and
animation but it also has a "Project of the Day" segment. Where, just as the
Captain did, Mayte and her friends help to stimulate creativity and
imagination transforming everyday things objects into toys and works of art. 
A very "can do" attitude is passed on to kids in this show that the Federal
Communications Commission has rated "E" for educational.

    Throughout the half hour show, kids get to sing along to original tunes
performed by Mayte with the help of the Mayte Dancers, a really hip-hopping
bunch of kids.  Johnny the Handyman is the "how-to" guy, building all sorts of
things.  Peter the Gymnast shows kids how much fun exercise is.  Don Carlos, a
grandfather type, tells great stories.  And Tia Gabby is busy preparing treats
for the kids.

      In some places The World of Mayte is on Spanish language television and in
others it's on English stations, but I'm sure that in all, it's well received.

Check your local listings.
So tune in and enjoy The World of Mayte.  It's fantastico.

--30-- (printed with permission)