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Counting with Paula

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Counting with Paula TV Poster Image
Smart series reinforces number know-how for preschoolers.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

The show promotes basic math literacy by incorporating counting, number recognition, and number sense in its stories, and the characters encourage viewers to participate in all the counting tasks. Each one centers on a number of the day, and all the counting activities relate to that specific numeral. Shape and color awareness also are a focus of the show.

Positive Messages

The characters engage preschoolers in the story, encouraging them to think critically and use number sense to complete tasks. Teamwork and friendship are frequent themes, and characters are always happy to help each other. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Paula is smart, cheerful, and inviting, the perfect complement to her kindly but soft-spoken stuffed friend, Billy. Tim is handy to have around and always works hard to accomplish the day's mission. With Chalkie, Calc, and the Numbers there to help, the group always benefits from working together.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Counting with Paula is a preschool series whose math-based content is inspired by curricula such as Common Core and overseen by experts in early education. The characters -- a group of whom include animated versions of the numbers 1 through 10 -- find many ways to use their knowledge of numbers and counting, showing kids how these skills can be applied in the real world. In many cases, more advanced concepts such as comparative math are at work, as are colors and shape sense. Because Paula and her friends have such disparate personalities, there also are good messages about overcoming differences and cooperation. Fun adventures and missions that challenge the characters' knowledge and problem-solving skills round out this enjoyable series.   

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What's the story?

COUNTING WITH PAULA follows the lively adventures of a young girl named Paula (voiced by Vanessa Phang Wan Qing) who uses her understanding of numbers to help her complete missions in a variety of exciting settings. Each story opens with Paula and her friends -- sweet-natured Billy (Chio Su-Ping), enthusiastic Tim (Su-Ping again), and helpful Calc and the Numbers -- discovering a problem and being given a task to complete before learning the solution. As their room transforms into anything from outer space to an undersea world, they make new friends, follow clues, and put numbers to good use on their way to completing their mission. 

Is it any good?

Counting with Paula is an entertaining way to introduce number literacy to preschoolers. As the characters identify numbers and use them to count objects, the animated Numbers appear on-screen so kids can match each figure with its corresponding name. For older preschoolers with a solid grasp of basic number sense, the show demonstrates practical applications of number and math skills, often incorporating more advanced concepts such as "greater than," "less than," and "equal to."

Besides numbers and counting, the show also uses color and shape recognition in its content, further reinforcing those essential prereading skills for this age group. What's more, the social diversity within the cast exemplifies different problem-solving tactics and shows the role teamwork plays in helping a group fulfill a common purpose.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about numbers and their purpose. Kids: What kinds of things do you find yourself counting during the day? How does it help you to understand what concepts such as "more than" and "less than" mean? 

  • How does cooperating make the characters' tasks easier? How do the friends help in different ways? Is teamwork always important when you're taking on a challenge? Are there times when it's easier to work independently? 

  • Play games with your kids that expand on this show's content. Call out a number and ask your child to find that number of an object, for example. For older preschoolers, turn these games into simple sorting or addition and subtraction challenges. Which apps or other resources are good learning tools?

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