Nurturing Nebraskan Futures: The Good Life in Early Life Podcast

Nasrin Nawa | 

March 11, 2024


The “Good Life in Early Life” podcast, a product of Nebraska Extension’s Early Childhood program, disseminates the latest insights in Early Care and Education (ECE) tailored for a Nebraska audience. The podcast’s mission is to provide a unique platform, delivering scientific information in an accessible manner while uplifting Nebraskans through relatable success stories in early childhood within the state.

The podcast format allows for information to be shared in a timely and responsive manner to meet the emerging needs of parents and educators. Emily Manning, Extension educator and the podcast host, highlights the podcast’s distinctiveness by explaining, “Unlike traditional programming with formal presentations to large groups, a podcast fosters sharing experiences and mutual encouragement, cultivating a supportive community among Nebraskans.”

She mentioned, “Providing evidence-based information and practical strategies to parents and caregivers is crucial for fostering healthy development in children birth to eight. We want families, caregivers, and educators to understand why it is so important to have high-quality early care as well as a guide on how to do that by providing insights and information.” 

Although crafted for Nebraskans, the podcast’s impact transcends state borders, capturing listeners from Missouri and Texas to Colorado and California, and even internationally in Germany and Turkey. Manning mentioned plans for a Spanish version tailored to the Spanish demographic in Nebraska in the future. 

The podcast releases two new episodes monthly, contributing to its timeliness and responsiveness in meeting the emerging needs of parents and educators. Haley Jackson, an Extension educator, shares the impact of the podcast within her professional circle, highlighting how she refers friends with young children to specific episodes when asked for advice. Jackson’s favorite aspect of the podcast lies in its ability to transform complicated professional topics into simple concepts that anyone can easily understand, even without a background in the subject matter.

In September 2023, Manning launched this impactful podcast. The podcast’s dedicated crew includes Holly Hatton (content manager), Erin Kampbell (writer and sound editor assistant), Ingrid Lindan (writer and social media consultant), LaDonna Werth and Katie Krause (consultants for content development), and Linda Reddish (communications specialist).

Carrie Gottschalk, Extension Engagement Zone Coordinator and experienced, licensed Mental Health Professional, who was a guest in one of the episodes, views this podcast as a critical, research-based, relevant, and timely educational product.

She mentioned, "The committee consists of early childhood professionals, well-versed and aware of the necessary topics to discuss and how to address them." According to her, early childhood is a critical issue in the state and the entire country, emphasizing that providing support to professionals and families on this matter is crucial. She also emphasized the significance of Extension and research having a voice in these conversations.

Since its inception, The Good Life in Early Life has accumulated about 428 minutes (about 7 hours) of content across 14 episodes for Nebraskans. Manning reports a total of 788 plays (as of 3/6/24) across various platforms.

Analyzing listener demographics, Manning notes that most listeners in Nebraska are located in Omaha, Lincoln, Columbus, Hastings, York, and Scottsbluff. It has also gone beyond Nebraska to 12 more states. The audience is predominantly female, with a stable male audience at 21%, exceeding the usual participation in traditional, in-person programming.

 “Your podcast is FANTASTIC!!!” a listener shared with Manning. “I’m two episodes in and I just love how real and relatable it is. So easy to listen to! Thank you so much for this little treasure.”. 

To listen, click here: MediaHubSpotify and Apple