Peg + Cat Digital Media Summative Evaluation: Early Childhood Educator Study

October 26th, 2018 | EVALUATION

Peg + Cat is a popular broadcast television series, developed by The Fred Rogers Company and airing on PBS, in which a girl named Peg and her sidekick, Cat, solve everyday problems using mathematics, creativity, persistence, and humor. Peg + Cat: Developing Preschoolers’ Early Math Skills was a three-year project, funded by the National Science Foundation, that aimed to impact children’s interest and engagement with mathematics, as well as their development of positive social-emotional skills. The project supported early math learning via the creation of additional Peg + Cat episodes, online games and digital storybooks, a science center summer camp, and early childhood educator professional development. This evaluation report focuses on the use and impact of three online games (Don’t Go Bananas, Symmetry Painter, and Music Maker) and three digital storybooks (The Big Dog Problem, The Election Problem, and The Perfect Ten Problem) by early childhood educators.

Rockman et al, an independent educational research and evaluation company, conducted the summative evaluation study of the six Peg + Cat digital media resources with fifteen early childhood educators. Participating preschool teachers were told that one of the goals of the online games and digital storybooks was to support children’s social-emotional skill development, and that they should try to talk with the children in their classrooms about these topics, while using the digital media. Otherwise, teachers were instructed to use the six online games and digital storybooks in their classrooms however they wanted to incorporate them over a four-month period. Each month, teachers filled out an online form, indicating which Peg + Cat digital media they used in their classrooms, and how they and their students used them. The teachers then participated in a telephone interview at the end of the study, asking them to provide more in-depth information about how they utilized the six online games and digital storybooks in their classrooms, how they addressed mathematics and social-emotional skills during gameplay, and the extent to which they felt that the Peg + Cat digital media had impacted the children in their classrooms.

Study findings indicated that teachers saw the Peg + Cat digital media as fun and engaging educational resources that they could use to support math and social-emotional learning in their preschool classrooms. Teachers were able to identify specific math content that the online games and digital storybooks addressed, and successfully linked those topics to conversations and activities they engaged in with children. Teachers also saw different affordances in the online games and digital media for supporting children’s social-emotional skill development. The online games were mainly used to model taking turns and working together, while the digital storybooks were used to discuss a range of social-emotional skills. Thus, both types of online media had important roles to play in children’s social-emotional development and early math learning.



Team Members

Camellia Sanford-Dolly, Evaluator, Rockman et al
Mallary Swartz, Principal Investigator, Fred Rogers Productions


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: AISL
Award Number: 1516446

Related URLs

Peg + Cat: Developing Preschoolers' Early Math Skills


Audience: Educators | Teachers | Evaluators | Museum | ISE Professionals | Pre-K Children (0-5)
Discipline: Education and learning science | Mathematics
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Summative
Environment Type: Informal | Formal Connections | Media and Technology | Pre-K | Early Childhood Programs | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media