Through engaging stories and physical comedy, PEG + CAT inspires preschool children to see math as exciting, accessible, and fun. The show teaches measurement, shapes and patterns, and a wide range of fundamental pre-math skills, as established by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics.
It also teaches an inquiry-based approach to problem solving that children can use in their everyday lives. As Peg and Cat struggle to solve problems they guess, brainstorm, improvise, bicker, play games, sing songs, and write out numbers and pictures. Along the way they make mistakes, at times they despair, occasionally they totally freak out! But they never give up. As they overcome obstacles to solve the REALLY BIG PROBLEMS they face, Peg and Cat prove to young viewers that even the most daunting math problems can be solved. And as they use math to tame the wild and wacky world in which they find themselves, Peg and Cat prove that math is empowering and cool.
Some of the strategies for integrating math into the series include:
- Children explore two to three key math concepts per episode.
- The two stories in each episode provide introductory and more advanced applications.
- Problem solving through trial and error is modeled to encourage persistence.
- Visuals and repetition are used to reinforce key concepts.
- Music highlights both the problems and solutions.
Peg + Cat has four key learning goals:
- Encourage children to see math as fun, cool, and worthwhile.
Lively characters, such as Peg, Cat, and Ramone encounter challenging mathematical problems in every episode. Some situations will be highly familiar to preschoolers, while other will be more surprising and fantastical. In each case, the kind of critical thinking needed to solve these problems is the same.
- Broaden children’s understanding of what mathematical thinking involves and present examples of useful strategies to try when they feel “stuck.”
Many young children are unaware that math extends beyond counting. Viewers will be excited to learn that math also includes patterns, shapes, homemade measurement tools, and much more.
- Inspire children to approach problems with creativity, persistence, and humor.
Peg may worry when she first encounters a problem, but she is resilient and wise enough not to give up. Her arsenal of spirited approaches to problem-solving includes, identifying the problem and setting clear goals, asking questions, drawing a simple picture, brainstorming, and experimenting and persisting.
- Present children with a range of age-appropriate mathematical concepts and skills supported by the NAEYC, NCTM, Common Core State Standards, the PBS Math Curriculum Framework, and other leading early childhood math research:
- Numbers and Operations
- Geometry and Spatial Sense
- Patterns and Algebraic Thinking
- Data Collection and Analysis