PBS KIDS is powering up a new animated series, Hero Elementary, to premiere in the summer of 2020. Set in a school for budding superheroes where kids learn to master their innate powers, like flying and teleportation, while exploring science along the way, Hero Elementary aims to give children ages 4 to 7 the tools to solve problems by thinking and acting like scientists and igniting their natural curiosity and empathy.
This new multiplatform series, co-produced by Twin Cities PBS and Portfolio Entertainment, will debut nationwide on PBS stations, the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel, and PBS KIDS digital platforms.
“Superheroes solve problems, and science is the ultimate problem-solving tool,” said Linda Simensky, Head of PBS KIDS Content. “Hero Elementary is the perfect show to teach children the power of STEM skills. The science and empathy-driven curriculum weaves seamlessly into the heroic adventures of these superhero kids, making the series fun and engaging.”
The stories in Hero Elementary center around a team of super students called Sparks’ Crew. Lucita Sky, AJ Gadgets, Sara Snap and Benny Bubbles, led by their quirky and enthusiastic teacher, Mr. Sparks, work together to help people, solve problems, and try to make the world a better place. When their imperfect powers aren’t up to the task, they look to their other powers – the superpowers of science – to help them investigate, observe, make predictions, and figure out a solution.
“We have carved out a unique hero universe for young kids that uses all the excitement of the superhero genre to empower them to solve problems by actively doing science,” said Carol-Lynn Parente, Co-creator and Executive Producer of Hero Elementary. “Our kid heroes are a diverse team, still learning how to save the day, and the excitement for the audience is finding out the superpowers of science are powers anyone can use to solve a problem and be a hero.”
The science curriculum in Hero Elementary addresses crucial components of children’s learning – the ability to develop and test ideas, ask questions, predict, and observe – skills known to contribute to learning in other content areas, such as literacy, language development and critical thinking. Each episode will include two animated 11-minute stories with accompanying interstitial content. The series is currently in production for 40 half-hour episodes.
Along with the television series, the Hero Elementary universe will include a collection of interactive digital components to supplement and expand the television world, reinforce learning, and encourage interactive play for kids everywhere. Hero Elementary games will be available on pbskids.org and on the free PBS KIDS Games App, along with clips and full episodes streaming across PBS KIDS’ video platforms, including the free PBS KIDS Video App. A collection of Hero Elementary educator resources will be available on PBS LearningMedia.
Hero Elementary is funded by a Ready To Learn grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The Ready To Learn Initiative is a federal program that supports the development of innovative educational television and digital media targeted to preschool and early elementary school children and their families.