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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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