PBS Kids, Peg + Cat: Early Learning of Math through Media (ELM2)

Math understanding and skills are essential, yet national assessments show that by the 4th grade 60 percent of students are performing below proficient levels in math. Further more, for children from low-income households this learning gap is even more evident. * 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.**
To help address these national concerns about math skills, PBS KIDS has developed PEG + CAT, a new animated preschool series that follows the spirited Peg and her sidekick Cat as they embark on adventures and learn foundational math concepts and skills. Co-creators Billy Aronson and Jennifer Oxley 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. To see an episode click on the image below! 
Every half-hour episode of PEG + CAT features two math adventures presented as messy and funny quandaries 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. The PEG + CAT television series is part of a multiplatform media experience that will also include interactive content accessible online and via mobile devices. 
Dr. Cynthia Tananis has been named a Co - Principal Investigator in an NSF grant that explores the mechanisms that initiate and support innovation in early childhood education, especially in combining informal learning via public media and technology with teacher and family interactions to maximize children's math learning using the Peg + Cat transmedia platform. The project's transmedia deliverables will reach millions of preschoolers through daily PBS broadcasts and online games and apps. Fifty Head Start teachers will participate in the two-year professional development program and will be using new content knowledge and pedagogy to teach 550 Head Start children in southwest Pennsylvania and engage their parents/caregivers. The research agenda conducted by CEAC will test several hypotheses regarding the strategies to extend teacher's math content knowledge and pedagogy and parent/ caregiver's understanding and valuing of math. A key question will focus on how coupled learning opportunities (professional development for teachers, transmedia, and support for families) enable and sustain children's engagement and learning in math.