Peg + Cat
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the peg + cat website delivers early math concepts through music, cute voice overs, and problem-solving quests. Based on the book The Chicken Problem and the PBS Kids program of the same name, peg + cat provides a mostly positive, problem-solving female role model in a safe environment. You can watch any episode of the show on the site, with new ones appearing each Friday. If they're fans of the show, your kids will have fun navigating through this charming site filled with activities, games, and even a few craft projects.
What's it about?
Peg + cat contains a well-rounded selection of goodies: you can watch full episodes or song segments, play skills-oriented games; explore a few content-labeled math lessons; and get hands-on with a handful of crafty, language-artsy activities like flip books, board games, and coloring pages. Most episodes follow a simple structure: title sequences that Peg calls "message thingys" and a repeated problem-solving song ground kids in a bit of routine, while the goofy yet sophisticated narratives seem to each have their own unique flow.
Is it any good?
Peg charges into auto racing, pirate sleepovers, spaceships, and cake baking adventures with aplomb while sharing, helping others, and solving social and mathematical problems. Using charming stick-drawn equations, ukulele ditties, and friendly banter, Peg and her pear-shaped sidekick, Cat (plus a host of supporting critter characters) lead kids through patterns, shapes, adding, dividing, and more. As always, PBS and the Fred Rogers Company deliver exceptional educational content, capturing learning moments that are often missed by less experienced sources. Especially helpful is the customizable closed captioning that comes with all videos including a range of font sizes and separate window and text background colors.
The overall feel is positive and upbeat due to Peg's enthusiasm, determination, and energy but so-so games and a few quirky elements keep peg + cat from Blue's Clues-level quality. Although peg + cat is clearly for the preschool crowd, Peg deals with a sassy group of teenagers quite a bit; the heavy focus on these texting teens is a bit mystifying. On the slightly more philosophical side, Peg declares "We've got a really big problem!" to introduce every solution and "freaks out" when she thinks she can't handle the situation. While these freakouts are limited to a brief bout of shouting, this constant panic seems to soften her legitimacy as a role model despite her tried and true calming down strategy: counting backwards.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about problem solving out loud in Peg's classic style: For example, "First I try to make sure I understand the problem -- what do you think the problem is?"
Incorporate problem solving into real life situations -- how many minutes do you have to wait for your bread to toast before it burns?
|Subjects:||Math: addition, counting, division, grouping, measurement, numbers, patterns, shapes, subtraction|
|Skills:||Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, decision-making, deduction, part-whole relationships, problem solving |
Self-Direction: academic development, personal growth
Emotional Development: handling stress, identifying emotions, persevering
Responsibility & Ethics: making wise decisions, respect for others