28 March 2009
I'm no fool
In the 1960s Walt Disney Productions released a series of films starring Jiminy Cricket entitled, I’M NO FOOL. This series was comprised of 8 minute shorts dedicated to the safety of children. They included segments like I’m No Fool with Fire, I’m No Fool in a Car, I’m No Fool with a Bicycle, and I’m No Fool with Safety at School. Many of these films were turned into 16mm films and study prints for use in classrooms across America. Many of these films and prints were still in use in classrooms by the time I reached elementary school during the mid-1980s.The Walt Disney Study Prints included topics like the I’m No Fool with Fire and with a Bicycle, like mentioned above, but also included I’m No Fool in Water, I’m No Fool as a Pedestrian, and I’m No Fool Having Fun. The one study print that did not resign itself to the “I’m No Fool” mantra was School Bus Safety. Across the board, all of the prints in these sets were brightly colored, included the main idea in bold lettering, and incorporated a well-known Disney character into the artwork. The back of the prints, however, included a wealth of ideas for teachers including a narrative for the given topic, suggested activities, and a list of the set’s prints in order with their titles.For instance, on the KEEP HEAD AND ARMS INSIDE THE BUS print, the activities suggested for students are writing a letter to their parents explaining to importance of being a good passenger, making a list of potential accidents from riding with head and arms out the window, and drawing a picture showing how to sit correctly on the bus. While these activities may seem bland, they would certainly reiterate the importance of staying seated.These prints and films have been out of print for quite some time, but the lessons they teach and the manner in which they teach them will never go out of style. Educating children about being safe around dangerous items and circumstances is key, no matter what the era. In the case of the Walt Disney Study Prints and I’m No Fool films, they passed on these lessons with ease, understandability, and with a friendly, recognizable, face. Walt Disney once said, “…in the discovery of knowledge, there is great entertainment…” That is about as well worded an educational philosophy as any I have ever read, and the films and study prints adhere to it effortlessly.