Twin Cities PBS and Portfolio Entertainment Co-production Will Explore Science and Empathy
Arlington, VA, October 1, 2019 – Today, PBS KIDS announced a new animated series, HERO ELEMENTARY, set to premiere in the summer of 2020. HERO ELEMENTARY is a school for budding superheroes, where kids learn to master their innate powers, like flying and teleportation, while exploring science along the way. HERO ELEMENTARY aims to give children ages 4 to 7 the tools to solve problems by thinking and acting like scientists and igniting their natural curiosity and empathy. This new multiplatform series, co-produced by Twin Cities PBS and Portfolio Entertainment, will debut nationwide on PBS stations, the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel, and PBS KIDS digital platforms.
“Superheroes solve problems, and science is the ultimate problem-solving tool,” said Linda Simensky, Head of PBS KIDS Content. “HERO ELEMENTARY is the perfect show to teach children the power of STEM skills. The science and empathy-driven curriculum weaves seamlessly into the heroic adventures of these superhero kids, making the series fun and engaging.”
The stories in HERO ELEMENTARY center around a team of super students called Sparks’ Crew. Lucita Sky, AJ Gadgets, Sara Snap, and Benny Bubbles, led by their quirky and enthusiastic teacher, Mr. Sparks, work together to help people, solve problems, and try to make the world a better place. When their imperfect powers aren’t up to the task, they look to their other powers – the superpowers of science – to help them investigate, observe, make predictions, and figure out a solution.
“We have carved out a unique hero universe for young kids that uses all the excitement of the superhero genre to empower them to solve problems by actively doing science,” said Carol-Lynn Parente, Co-creator and Executive Producer of HERO ELEMENTARY. “Our kid heroes are a diverse team, still learning how to save the day, and the excitement for the audience is finding out the superpowers of science are powers anyone can use to solve a problem and be a hero.”
The science curriculum in HERO ELEMENTARY addresses crucial components of children’s learning – the ability to develop and test ideas, ask questions, predict, and observe – skills known to contribute to learning in other content areas, such as literacy, language development and critical thinking. Each episode will include two animated 11-minute stories with accompanying interstitial content. The series is currently in production for 40 half-hour episodes.
Along with the television series, the HERO ELEMENTARY universe will include a collection of interactive digital components to supplement and expand the television world, reinforce learning, and encourage interactive play for kids everywhere. HERO ELEMENTARY games will be available on pbskids.org and on the free PBS KIDS Games App, along with clips and full episodes streaming across PBS KIDS’ video platforms, including the free PBS KIDS Video App. A collection of HERO ELEMENTARY educator resources will be available on PBS LearningMedia.
HERO ELEMENTARY is funded by a Ready To Learn grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The Ready To Learn Initiative is a federal program that supports the development of innovative educational television and digital media targeted to preschool and early elementary school children and their families.
About PBS KIDS
PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers children ages 2-8 the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, digital media and community-based programs. PBS KIDS and local stations across the country support the entire ecosystem in which children learn, including their teachers, parents and community. Provided by stations, the free PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and live stream is available to more than 95% of U.S. TV households. Kidscreen- and Webby Award-winning pbskids.org provides engaging interactive content, including digital games and streaming video. PBS KIDS offers mobile apps to help support young children’s learning, including the PBS KIDS Video app, which is available on a variety of mobile devices and on platforms such as Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Samsung TV and Chromecast. PBS KIDS also offers parent and teacher resources to support children’s learning anytime and anywhere. For more information on PBS KIDS content and initiatives supporting school readiness and more, visit pbs.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
About Twin Cities PBS
The mission of Twin Cities PBS (TPT) is to enrich lives and strengthen our community through the power of media. As one of the nation’s leading public media organizations, TPT uses television, interactive media and community engagement to advance education, culture and citizenship. In its nearly 60-year history, TPT has been recognized for its innovation and creativity with numerous awards, including Peabody awards, and national and regional Emmys. Based in Saint Paul, MN, TPT is one of the most highly viewed public TV stations in the nation, reaching more than 1.7 million people each month through multiple broadcast and digital platforms. The organization’s particular areas of focus include: the educational readiness of children; serving the needs and unleashing the potential of America’s aging population; engaging a new generation in the power of public media; and being the preferred media partner for organizations that align with our mission to enrich lives and strengthen community. For more information about TPT, visit our website at www.tpt.org or join us on Facebook and Twitter.
Portfolio Entertainment is a leading media company specializing in the production, distribution and animation of kids and family entertainment for television and digital media content providers worldwide. Portfolio’s most notable projects include The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That! (PBS/Treehouse); DOKI (Discovery Kids); and Freaktown (Teletoon). The company’s Toronto headquarters house Portfolio Animation, a creator-driven 2D Harmony animation studio. Its distribution division represents over 1,500 half-hours of animated and live-action programming seen on broadcasting and streaming platforms across 110 markets worldwide.
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The contents of this release were developed under a grant from the Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. [PR Award No. U295A150012]