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This fall, PBS KIDS will premiere PEG + CAT, a new animated preschool series that follows the adorable, spirited Peg and her sidekick Cat as they embark on adventures and learn foundational math concepts and skills. Co-creators Billy Aronson (Rent, Postcards from Buster) and Jennifer Oxley (Little Bill, The Wonder Pets!) have teamed with The Fred Rogers Company to bring young viewers a new way to experience math through Peg and Cat’s relatable, and often hilarious, adventures. PEG + CAT premieres Oct. 7 on APT with a special one-hour broadcast of two back-to-back episodes, along with integrated online and mobile content. Each episode features fascinating stories in which Peg and Cat encounter a problem that requires them to use math and problem solving skills in order to move forward. The series continues with half-hour episodes every weekday at 8:00 a.m and 2:30 p.m. on Alabama Public Television.
Math understanding and skills are essential, yet national assessments show that 60 percent of students are performing below proficient levels in math by the 4th grade, and this learning gap is more pronounced in children from low-income families. To help support math learning for young children, the National Research Council’s Committee on Early Childhood Mathematics has highlighted the need for “increased informal programming, curricular resources, software, and other media” to help build key math skills.
“PBS KIDS is committed to using media to open up worlds of possibilities for all children, and developing content that focuses on math is a critical part of that,” said Lesli Rotenberg, General Manager, Children’s Programming, PBS. “We’re excited to launch PEG + CAT this fall, adding a math media property to our preschool line-up that includes popular series like The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, which teaches natural science, and Curious George, which focuses on engineering. With its adventurous storylines and engaging characters and music, PEG + CAT will encourage kids to discover how to use math concepts, as well as core skills including cooperation, perseverance and resiliency, as they explore the world around them.”
Every half-hour episode of PEG + CAT will feature two stories, each an eleven-minute adventure in which Peg and Cat find themselves thrust into an unexpected math word problem. But it’s not just an abstract academic exercise for them — it’s a messy and funny quandary they have to solve. The show focuses not only on helping kids build math skills, such as how to add or subtract, but on how to think about larger math concepts as well — concepts that form the foundation for learning math at any level, from kindergarten to calculus. In each episode, Peg and Cat use foundational concepts like relative size, geometry and algebraic thinking to solve the problem and save the day. The series’ curriculum is based on Common Core State Standards.
Peg and Cat’s adventures take them through worlds of infinite possibilities — from farms to purple planets, from 16th-century Verona to New York’s Radio City Music Hall, from a land of pirates to a prehistoric valley — demonstrating that math is everywhere.
The PEG + CAT television series is part of a multiplatform media experience that will also include interactive content online and on mobile. The series currently offers games and other resources online at pbskids.org/peg, and additional interactive features, including more games, parent resources and a mobile app, are slated to launch along with the on-air premiere.