Study Finds that Use of PBS KIDS Content in the Classroom Improves Early Math Skills in Preschool Children

Curious George Apple Picking

A new study conducted by EDC and SRI International found that the acquisition of essential early math skills, such as counting, recognizing numerals, recognizing shapes, and patterning, increased significantly among four- and five-year-old children from economically disadvantaged communities who participated in a 10-week PBS KIDS Transmedia Math Supplement initiative. “With this study, we have a better understanding of the contribution transmedia resources can make to early learning settings,” said EDC’s Shelley Pasnik, vice president and director of the Center for Children and Technology. “Children living in traditionally under-resourced communities were able to build foundational math skills when given necessary supports—in this case engaging digital content, opportunities to practice both on and away from screens, and knowledgeable adults—leaving them better prepared for kindergarten.” Key findings of the 2013 Ready To Learn study include:

  • Children who used the PBS KIDS math supplement, which incorporated videos, digital games, interactive whiteboards, laptop computers, teacher support, and hands-on math materials, improved significantly in their understanding of the targeted early mathematics skills compared to the control group.
  • Children who used the same technology without the integrated math materials did not experience the same learning gains compared to the control.
  • Teachers who used the math supplement reported significant changes in their confidence and comfort with early mathematics concepts and teaching with technology.

The 2013 study was funded by the U.S. Department of Education through a Ready To Learn grant to CPB and PBS. The Ready to Learn initiative was developed to enhance the reach of, and access to, innovative early math experiences for U.S. children, especially those from low-income families, who often fall behind in mathematics skills at an early age and have difficulty catching up.

Last Updated: November 2013