What lit­tle girls are made of:

Se­cret Life Of Girls is a two-part doc­u­men­tary which fol­lows a group of five and six year olds and re­veals their in­ter­ac­tions with each other. Sarah Nealon re­ports.

The TV Guide - - CONTENTS -

New doc­u­men­tary looks at the se­cret lives of girls.

If you have ever won­dered how girls in­ter­act with one an­other away from the pry­ing eyes of par­ents, now is your chance to find out.

Se­cret Life Of Girls is a lo­cal two-part se­ries which shows how a group of five- and six-year-old fe­males be­have.

Mod­elled on Bri­tish pro­grammes which fol­low the pop­u­lar Se­cret Life Of for­mat, the New Zealand doc­u­men­tary was filmed at an Auck­land kinder­garten.

“You put a bunch of girls to­gether, who don’t know each other, for a week and you ba­si­cally see what hap­pens,” says Dr An­nette Hen­der­son, a child de­vel­op­ment ex­pert from the Univer­sity of Auck­land’s School of Psy­chol­ogy.

Along with Nathan Wal­lis, also an ex­pert in child de­vel­op­ment, Dr Hen­der­son will com­ment on some of the be­hav­iour ex­hib­ited by the chil­dren.

“You’re go­ing to have some of

the girls who are quite ac­tive with one an­other, in­ter­act­ing with one an­other, (with) kind of no in­hi­bi­tions and feel­ing quite ex­tro­verted,” she says.

“You’ll have one or two al­pha girls where they kind of take charge and lead­er­ship and then you’ll have other girls who kind of sit back and do their own thing.”

If over­seas ver­sions are any­thing to go by, the show will be en­ter­tain­ing and in­sight­ful.

“There is a healthy bal­ance of free play, lots of record­ing them just play­ing on the play­ground in their own time and see­ing just nat­u­rally what they do,” says Dr Hen­der­son.

“Then (there are) some sit­u­a­tions where we’ve scripted some sce­nar­ios to see what the girls do.”

While the show is largely ob­ser­va­tional, the girls are aware that they are be­ing filmed.

“The cam­era crew did their best to kind of stay back but they do see the cam­eras be­cause they’re not to­tally, com­pletely hid­den,” says Dr Hen­der­son.

“So they do know and they are wear­ing mi­cro­phones so it’s in­ter­est­ing.

“So I think at the be­gin­ning maybe they are quite con­cerned with it.

“But that’s one of the ben­e­fits of film­ing for a whole week. By the mid­dle of the day – that first day – they are just be­ing them­selves.”

It is worth not­ing there was an au­di­tion process for any­one ap­pear­ing on cam­era.

“You needed chil­dren who would talk – at least a lit­tle bit,” says Dr Hen­der­son.

“I think while we have a good range, we prob­a­bly don’t have the re­ally true silent ones who would ac­tu­ally have a hard time and not have fun.”

“You put a bunch of girls to­gether, who don’t know each other, for a week and you ba­si­cally see what hap­pens.”

– Dr An­nette Hen­der­son

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