Peg + Cat Helps Improve Math Skills
Researchers at EDC and SRI International have found that children who used media content from PBS KIDS' series PEG + CAT showed improvement in critical math areas involving ordinal numbers, spatial relationships and 3-D shapes. Parents and caregivers also showed greater comfort and confidence in supporting their children with math concepts and problem-solving strategies.
According to a press release from the EDC, EDC and SRI examined children's and families' home use of selected PEG + CAT resources – which features characters and storylines extended across multiple media platforms – over 12 weeks. Study materials included full episodes of PEG + CAT, video clips, online games, a tablet-based app and print activities, all of which allowed children and families to engage with the same characters, settings, and narratives on multiple devices.
Researchers found that children who were assigned to the PEG + CAT group and engaged with PEG + CAT videos and games showed stronger improvement in key math skills than children who were assigned to a comparison group. Parents and caregivers in the PEG + CAT group felt more confident that they could help their children learn math, and they agreed that technology and media were effective tools for math learning.
The study highlights the importance of making quality resources such as PEG + CAT available to both children and adults, especially those in low-income households. Parents and caregivers in the intervention group reported interacting more with their children around viewing PEG + CAT, playing digital games from the series and using screens, than did the control group parents, who did not use the PEG + CAT materials.
The study culminates five years of research studies commissioned by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and the PBS Ready To Learn initiative to evaluate public media resources in supporting children's mathematics learning. Previous studies have looked at how PBS KIDS digital media can contribute to children's learning while in preschool, on their own, and at home. The initiative, which creates educational programming and engagement activities for local public media stations and their communities, is funded by the U.S. Department of Education (ED).
Learn more about the initiative and read the full study here. The next cycle of Ready to Learn research will examine how media can be used by families at home to promote children's science and literacy learning.