Across the nation, summer is coming to a close and it’s back to school season!
Some kids have already started classes, while over the next month or so, many more will return to school. This time of year means shopping for notebooks and new clothes, figuring out schedules and finding lockers, guessing what the mystery meat in the cafeteria is while avoiding the dreaded tray-dropping, getting into an entirely new routine, and on and on and on – albeit with the rush of new faces, friends, and teachers to meet!
Here at Philo, we like to keep things simple – especially this summer as we’ve channeled comfort. So, if you’re fretting over the craziness of back to school season, looking for something educational for your little ones to watch, or hoping for a great way to kick back after school with some classic shows about campus life, we’ve got you covered. Here’s our Dean’s List of expertly curated back to school shows and movies with something for students, and parents, of all ages.
BEST IN CLASS: FOR THE YOUNG LEARNERS
For the littles in your life, the reboot of Blue’s Clues has all the wholesome elements that preschooler problem solvers loved in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. Blue and host Josh suss out details and run into a lot of friendly faces. The real riddle to solve is just how many episodes are you going to watch from your Thinking Chair?!
These aquatic preschoolers take to an underwater classroom to learn about science, math, the arts, school-readiness skills and literacy through original music. Your little ones will get to know the Bubble Guppies’ merpeople Gil, Molly, Deema, Nonny, Goby and Oona.
Everybody’s favorite football-head experiences all of life’s ups and downs with an array of characters at his side. The show centers on a fourth grader named Arnold, who lives with his grandparents in an inner-city tenement in Hillwood, Washington. Arnold, his street-smart pal Gerald, and frenemy Helga all handle life in their downtrodden neighborhood. Growing up can be hard, but Hey Arnold! Reminds us that friendship and pride in one’s community are important in life.
MIDDLE SCHOOL TEACHABLE MOMENTS
This popular Nickelodeon show shows aspiring rapper Young Dylan making his way through the world of Young Scholars Academy after moving in with uncle and aunt in the suburbs. Young Dylan’s bravado and eagerness to jumpstart his hip-hop career butts heads with the prep school upbringing of his cousins and aunt and uncle. The family hijinks could be a nod to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which as we know is a story all about how a life got flipped, turned upside down.
How could a Back to the School list not include Saved by the Bell? The lighthearted comedy saw heartthrob Zack Morris and his closest friends navigate life at Bayside High. High school’s pivotal moments, greatest stresses and best pranks followed the crew everywhere. The group features Zack, cheerleader Kelly, hunk Slater, feminist Jessie, fashion expert Lisa and nerd Screech. If the literal bell didn’t save this group, the rest of the responsibility fell on the shoulders of Principal Belding.
The great gifts of Matilda often went unnoticed. She pleads with her parents to go to school so she can continue learning with other kids. When she finally meets her wit’s end, Matilda’s powers allow her to solve her problems at school, namely Principal Trunchbull, and her issues at home. With telekinesis in tow, Matilda rights wrongs and sticks up for her friends – and enacts a little bit of revenge on her cruel parents. (Available with the STARZ add-on)
COMING OF AGE FOR THE HIGH SCHOOL SET
Detention: The great breaker of barriers and bonding agent! At least, that’s what happens in The Breakfast Club. The rebel John, princess Claire, outcast Allison, brainiac Brian, and jock Andrew face the punishment of overzealous their overzealous principal. Each gets a chance to share their story and broaden each other’s perspective. Everybody has a story to tell!
When high school nerd Scott Howard (Michael J. Fox) learns from his father, Harold (James Hampton), that being a werewolf runs in the family, he decides to take advantage of his freakish trait. With his newfound strength and agility, Scott quickly becomes the hero of his school’s basketball team while winning over longtime crush Pamela Wells (Lorie Griffin). As he grows more popular, Scott worries he is being celebrated as a novelty rather than for who he is.
That ominous and dangerous game is back… and in video-game form! Four high schoolers, after crossing paths in detention, discover an old video game console in their school’s basement and begin the game. After being sucked into the gamified Jumanji and taking the place of their selected avatars, the four begin battling for their lives in this jungle adventure. With peril around every corner, the four will have to escape before running out of lives. (Available with the STARZ add-on)
Narrowing down our final selections wasn’t easy! A bevy of great shows don’t appear in this post. Making the honor roll were iCarly, Rachael vs. Guy Kids Cook-off, Pretty in Pink, Footloose, Mean Girls, and Gilmore Girls. And if those still haven’t made the grade for you, peruse the entire Back to School Collection and you’re bound to find a new head of the class!