Girls, Math and Peg + Cat

Peg-cat

Photo Source – By FontanaLand (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

It’s no secret my family loves PBS.  If you spend any time in our house, perusing our bookshelves, scrolling through the {kids} Kindle apps, or observing our TV watching habits, you will quickly see that it borders on obsession.  We’re sort of a walking advertisement for PBS.  {Although I am in no way affiliated with PBS.}  You might hear my kids ask, “Mom, can we watch some PBS kids?”  You might see our picture with Elmo or Cookie Monster from our PBS Fun and Run adventures.  You might find our much loved Arthur and Sesame Street books strewn about the house.

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And lately, you might hear our boys singing “You Can Count on Me” or “Problem Solved” or telling each other how they are totally freaking out. {Dum, dum, dum duuuum.}

Around here, we’ve fallen pretty hard for Peg + Cat, the latest addition to the PBS morning lineup.  Perhaps it’s the math teacher in me, but I think Peg + Cat adds up to all kinds of awesome.  Never seen Peg + Cat?  Think Super Why! but substitute the early reading focus with early math emphasis.  Counting by ones, twos, and fives.  Adding one.  Measurement.  Shapes.  Sorting.  Comparison.  Patterns.  Problem solving.   All with seamless music integration.  “The Beethoven Problem” is classic.  {See what I did there?}  And all led by a confident young girl, her feline sidekick, her pal Ramone and host of other intriguing characters.

I can’t help but feel that all is right with the world, if only for a brief moment, when I hear Peg singing about her latest bright idea.  During my years as a classroom teacher, I saw the stigma that girls “don’t like math” played out all too often.  Whether because of social pressures, lack of confidence, or preconceived notions of what girls are supposed to be good at in school, there was more than one bright young woman who walked into my classroom with a knot in her stomach.

Math.  I hate Math.

There was also more than one skeptical parent who walked into my classroom during orientation each year.  “So, you are the math teacher? Do you have much experience?”  It was more often than not the mother with the questions.

Yes.  I am the math teacher.  I am young.  I am female.  And your daughter/son will leave this classroom a more confident student of math.  Thank you very much.

While it was five years ago when I was last in the classroom, I suspect there are still a few girls out there – and boys, too – who are fearing and loathing math because somewhere they got it in their head that it was too hard.  They lost their confidence.  They found frustration.

Enter Peg.  Confident.  Playful.  Sharp.  Charming.  And Good. At. Math.

Hallelujah.

Not only do I love the idea of Peg being a hero for little girls everywhere, but I also love the idea of Peg being a hero for little boys everywhere.

Yeah, mom.  This girl Peg is pretty awesome.  She’s smart.  Knows her numbers.  Great problem solver.  You’d like her, mom.

I do like her.

And I will confidently allow her on our Television.  And on my Kindle.  And on my computer.  {Have they made any books, yet?}

Why am I such a cheerleader?  Because I think we need more of what works when it comes to education.  And I think PBS works.  (Peg + Cat is just one of a few truly amazing programs on PBS, Daniel Tiger, Super Why!, I’m talking to you.)  I also think there are some good non-PBS shows that work (Doc McStuffins, Dora, I’m talking to you).  But PBS is partially viewer funded and has a consistent lineup of educational and diverse programs.  The “commercials” feature rhyming, shape, or matching activities, dance parties and exercise breaks (ie…get up off the couch and move) and other safe images and messages for kids.  No branding.  No marketing to the under 5 crowd.  No worries about what they are seeing.

Am I saying all our problems would be solved if we plunked our kids in front of the TV more?  No.  Heavens, no.  But, the reality is that TV, apps, e-books, and computer games – screen time, if you will – are becoming more and more common place in our homes, in our schools, and eventually in the work place.  The reality is that PBS is available as part of a basic cable package and can be seen in many, many homes across the country.  The reality is that PBS makes my kids and their education a priority.

And that is awesome.  Problem solved.  Thanks, Peg.  {And your amazing Cat.}

What do you think?  Are you a Peg fan?  A PBS fan?  What shows/games/apps do you love for your kids?

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Comments

  1. Nicolette Springer says:

    We love PBS in our house. Haven’t seen Peg + Cat yet but it sounds great. I’m a math and science girl myself so I love kids entertainment that is smart and focuses on subjects often overlooked. Thanks for heads up :)

  2. mamabeann says:

    Love this! I too HATE math but I don’t want my daughters too! My youngest loves this show, it’s such a great message! I chose this as my featured pick from wine’d down Wednesday this week, thanks so much for linking with us and I hope to see you again this week! :)

  3. I have a little guy who is head over heels for Mickey. I need to figure out when it comes on about our house. We don’t get Disney Jr. which I’m thinking is the channel it’s on.

    • Steph Kat says:

      Do you have Netflix? They have a couple of the Mickey Mouse Club House and old school specials on their kids section. But otherwise, it is on Disney Jr. You could try seeing if they have any DVDs at your library!

  4. pbskids is the only website my little one visits and he never gets tired of it! We LOVE pbs!!

  5. I am actually not a fan at all of Peg + Cat. It is not because I am a super crazy person who doesn’t believe in TV for kids, I just believe that what they see at a young age is instilled into their minds. I babysit two toddlers, and they enjoy Peg + Cat in the mornings. However, the few episodes I have seen have been teaching them that “it is only fair if everyone wins” or that if you are in a line waiting for something “it is only fair if you can trick people into getting out of line and sent to the back so you can be first.” Plus they whine a lot when they do not get their way. I do like how it teaches the children to do math, etc. But the underlying message being sent to the kids is all about fairness and that it is okay to be mad and whine about not getting your way and that it is okay to cry your eyes out and demand to get the same place as your friends because you didn’t win. I just don’t approve. One show that I believe tops all of these is Daniel Tiger. It teaches children how to handle and deal with the mishaps of life as a child- not winning, not coming in first, sharing correctly, etc. So during Peg + Cat, I turn the TV off and do a hands on activity with them. It is way more influential and promising than watching Peg + Cat and risking the children taking away something negative about life.

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