Aardman Animations has struck a deal with the British Council, which will see its popular Shaun the Sheep and Timmy Time characters encourage children around the world to learn English.
The animated stars will become the faces of a global network of newly established early years English learner centres, starting in Chile and Singapore later this year.
Children at the centres will be transported into Shaun and Timmy's world with themed classrooms and learning based on the TV series.
The characters will also be part of a new range of unique language learning products including stories, activity booklets and digital resources, designed to get two to six year olds engaged and excited about taking their first steps into the English language.
It is hoped that the venture will improve international education and collaboration, as well as showcase the UK as a leader in quality and trusted educational expertise worldwide.
"The British Council is delighted to be working with Aardman Animations to bring a unique learning experience to early years or younger English learners around the world," said Anna Searle, British Council Director English. "As such a well-loved and well respected British institution, Aardman's creativity and innovation combined with our expertise in English language teaching is certain to help children across the globe engage with the English language in a whole new way."
Sean Clarke, head of rights and brand development at Aardman Animations, added: "This is a great foundation to build a partnership with the British Council to create a package of fun and entertaining English Language learning experiences for early years or younger learners all over the world."