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Jennifer Peña and Steve Roslonek Join PBS KIDS Preschool Destination Cast


Arlington, VA January 7, 2008 – PBS KIDS will introduce two new teachers to its preschool destination on May 19, 2008 – teacher and actress Jennifer Peña will guide kids through curriculum-based activities and introduce Spanish words and phrases as “Miss Rosa,” and musician Steve Roslonek will join as the music teacher, “Mr. Steve,” performing interactive original songs and music related to the day’s curriculum theme.

“By bringing in new teachers in the third season, we’re not only introducing kids to a variety of new faces and helping them become familiar with people from diverse communities, but also preparing them for multi-cultural experiences they are likely to have in school and life,” said Lesli Rotenberg, SVP, PBS KIDS Next Generation Media. “By infusing Spanish and adding more original music, we are helping to enrich our youngest viewers’ engagement. The results of our ongoing research with parents and children specifically points to music as an important and powerful element of a child’s learning environment.”

Jennifer Peña, who will play Miss Rosa, is a Florida certified teacher with classroom experience, fluent in Spanish, who decided to incorporate her love of teaching with her first love - acting. She is now teaching Acting for Kids and Teens classes, private coaching and workshops. Jennifer started acting professionally at the age of 9 when she landed a role in the Touchstone film, "Ernest Saves Christmas." Since then, she has had roles in several national commercials including Sea World and Universal Studios, television appearances on several Nickelodeon shows and was a host for Shamu TV.

In January 2008, PBS KIDS Raising Readers will release a bilingual DVD hosted by Jennifer Peña as Miss Rosa for 10 cities across the country, in partnership with local PBS stations. In addition to introducing episodes from PBS KIDS preschool programs SUPER WHY! and WORDWORLD, Miss Rosa engages the audience with reading games and offers tips on how to make learning to read fun. Additional information about PBS KIDS Raising Readers activities can be found at readytolearnreading.org.

Steve Roslonek, also known as “SteveSongs,” will be Mr. Steve on the PBS KIDS preschool destination. Steve has been writing and performing his award-winning music for kids and families for the past ten years. He blends participatory songs, clever stories and great melodies to create what the Boston Globe called “not just a musical journey but an entertaining, interactive and educational one.” He has delighted audiences throughout New England and across the country, including at prestigious venues such as the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Wolftrap in Vienna, VA, and the Symphony Space in New York City. Steve initially began writing children’s songs for his brother’s first grade class in 1997. Positive feedback and inspiration quickly followed, leading Steve to record his first album, Morning ’Til Night, independently in 1999. That same year Steve left his job as a business consultant with Accenture to pursue this adventure full time. Eight years and four albums later, Steve has performed at over 2,000 shows across the country. He’s won numerous prestigious awards, including two Parents’ Choice Gold Awards, a Nappa Honor, iParenting Media Award, and a Children’s Music Web Award. His current and critically acclaimed CD, Marvelous Day was released in 2006 on Rounder Records. Combining his two passions, music and kids, has yielded what Steve calls “the coolest job ever.”

About the PBS KIDS preschool destination:
PBS KIDS preschool destination launched in September 2006 as part of PBS KIDS Next Generation Media, an initiative to define the unique contribution public television can make in the changing digital children’s media landscape. PBS KIDS Next Generation Media continues to engage in research with children, parents, teachers and caregivers and consultation with its advisory board of experts to aid in the development of the highest quality and most innovative educational and entertaining media experiences. The series within the preschool destination include CURIOUS GEORGE, SUPER WHY!, DRAGON TALES and CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG. Miss Lori, played by Lori Holton Nash, and the loveable guinea pig, Hooper, return for a third season and will continue to entertain and educate kids by guiding them through the different preschool destination themes. PBS KIDS continues to collaborate with Out of the Blue Enterprises and their team of innovative creators, producers and brand development visionaries to create a third season of interactive children’s entertainment.

About PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO!:
PBS KIDS, for preschoolers, and PBS KIDS GO!, for early elementary school kids, are committed to providing the highest quality non-commercial content and learning environment for children across the country. Providing age-appropriate, diverse programming for kids, PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! programs consistently earn more prestigious awards than any other broadcast or cable network. Only PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! have earned the unanimous endorsement of parents, children, industry leaders and teachers. With additional PBS resources to complement its programming, including PBS KIDS online (pbskids.org), PBS KIDS GO! online (pbskidsgo.org), PBS Parents (pbsparents.org), PBS Teachers (pbs.org/teachers), PBS Ready To Learn services and literacy events across the country, PBS is providing the tools necessary for positive child development. PBS is a nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation’s 355 public television stations, serving nearly 73 million people each week and reaching 99% of American homes.


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Contacts: Jake Landis, 703/739-5362 jwlandis@pbs.org
Jennifer Faulkner, 720/733-2886 jfaulkner@faulknermpr.com


WWW.PBS.ORG/PRESSROOM





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