PBS Kids is launching a new show aimed at introducing early math concepts through problem-solving and good old trial and error. Peg + Cat begins airing Oct. 7, accompanied with online and mobile content to teach kids the building blocks of mathematical thinking, like measurements, big and little, and more, and collaborative learning as the Peg and Cat problem solve together.
There are big ideas behind the show. “Over half of our nation’s children are performing below proficient levels in math by the 4th grade, which is why we need to start early to give young children the foundation they need to succeed in this important curricular area,” according to Lesli Rotenberg, General Manager, Children’s Programming, PBS. “Peg also promises to be a positive role model for girls; this is critical because research shows that kids identify math as being for boys and not for girls as early as second grade.*”
Peg + Cat deal with failure, they make mistakes, and sometimes they get upset, but they never give up, which reinforces the message of perseverance.
While that is all great news to parents, the best news is that the show is visually beautiful. Parents, too, have to watch these shows over and over, and will certainly get the songs stuck in their heads, which means that while these shows are for the benefit of kids, it’s always good that adults will be pleased with it, too. A clip of the show was shown at the Digital Kids Summit in San Francisco last week, where it was met with approval and satisfied concerns that while some educational apps aimed at kids teach academic concepts, social and emotional lessons are left behind. Peg + Cat satisfies both types of learning with math concepts couched in collaborative problem solving where the characters sometimes get things wrong and have to try again.
Peg + Cat is a production of The Fred Rogers Company. To see clips or access online games and activities, visit the PBS Kids website. (You may want to lower the volume on your computer or else be startled by a “welcome to our website” announcement from Peg.)
** “Math–Gender Stereotypes in Elementary School Children”; Dario Cvencek, Andrew N. Meltzoff, and Anthony G. Greenwald; University of Washington; Child Development, May⁄ June 2011, Volume 82, Number 3, Pages 766–779