Supporting Parent-Child Experiences with PEG+CAT Early Math Concepts
Using a randomized controlled trial design that gathered data on outcomes and implementation, researchers examined
children’s and families’ home use of PEG+CAT a PBS KIDS transmedia program implemented over a 12-week period.
Like previous generations of public media preschool programming, PEG+CAT resources are designed to give young
children early experiences that support later success with academic tasks. As Peg and Cat, along with their friends
and adversaries, “ﬁnd a way to solve the math and save the day” in their animated ﬁctional universe, their adventures
introduce children to key mathematical skills and provide positive models of social and emotional behaviors, such as
problem solving and persistence. Because PEG+CAT was designed as a ﬁrst-generation transmedia property—the
characters and storylines extend across multiple media platforms—study materials included PEG+CAT full episodes
and video clips, online games, a tablet-based app, and print activities that allow children and families to engage with
the same characters, settings, and narratives on multiple devices and with fewer time and location constraints.
The resources are intended to be fun, and purposefully focus on developmentally appropriate learning goals for
young children. The study involved approximately 200 children and their families living in lower-income communities
in the New York Metro and San Francisco Bay Area. Half of these children and families engaged with a curated set
of PEG+CAT materials at home; the other half, in addition to serving as the business-as-usual comparison condition,
also helped the research team gain insight into families’ practices around media, including how children and parent/
caregivers jointly used media. This report provides new evidence about how an informal experience with a transmedia
property can inﬂuence children’s mathematics learning, and parents’ behaviors and attitudes.
This research is part of the summative evaluation of the CPB-PBS Ready To Learn Initiative, which is supported by the
U.S. Department of Education and seeks to develop engaging, high-quality educational programming and supports for
two- to eight-year-old children living in low-income households. During the 2010-2015 grant cycle, Ready To Learn aimed
to deliver early mathematics resources on both established technologies (computers, video displays, and gaming consoles)
and emerging digital platforms (tablet computers, interactive whiteboards, and smartphones) to create anytime-anywhere
learning experiences that leverage the unique capabilities of transmedia for young children’s learning. As the summative
evaluation team for Ready To Learn, Education Development Center (EDC) and SRI Education (SRI) document and,
whenever possible, measure the impact of PBS KIDS transmedia mathematics resources on children’s school readiness.
Prior Ready To Learn evaluation research ﬁndings, including context studies and impact studies, focused on the role
of transmedia in early learning classrooms, more directly with children in a learning lab study environment, and the
home can be found at pbskids.org/lab/research.
PEG+CAT The Play Date
The study resources are intended
to be fun, and purposefully focus
on developmentally appropriate
learning goals for young children.