Multiplatform Show with Science Inquiry Curriculum Will Inspire Kids to Follow Their Curiosity
Arlington, VA, May 29, 2019 – Today, PBS KIDS announced the animated series ELINOR WONDERS WHY, set to premiere Labor Day 2020. ELINOR WONDERS WHY aims to encourage children to follow their curiosity, ask questions when they don’t understand and find answers using science inquiry skills. The main character Elinor, the most observant and curious bunny rabbit in Animal Town, will introduce kids ages 3-5 to science, nature and community through adventures with her friends. This new multiplatform series, created by Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson and produced in partnership with Pipeline Studios, will debut nationwide on PBS stations, the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and PBS KIDS digital platforms.
“Kids love to ask questions about how the world works,” said Linda Simensky, Vice President, Children’s Programming, PBS. “That’s what makes ELINOR WONDERS WHY such a perfect show for preschoolers. Kids will recognize themselves in Elinor’s boundless curiosity as she pursues the questions she wonders about – making observations and reveling in nature’s amazing answers.”
The stories in ELINOR WONDERS WHY center around Elinor and her friends Ari, a funny and imaginative bat, and Olive, a perceptive and warm elephant. As kids explore Animal Town, they will meet all kinds of interesting, funny, and quirky characters, each with something to teach us about respecting others, the importance of diversity, caring for the environment, and working together to solve problems. In each episode, Elinor models the foundational practices of science inquiry and engineering design -- including her amazing powers of observation and willingness to ask questions and investigate. When she encounters something she doesn’t understand, like why birds have feathers or how tiny ants build massive anthills, she just can’t let it go until she figures it out. And in discovering the answers, Elinor often learns something about nature’s ingenious inventions and how they can connect to ideas in our designed world, and what it takes to live in a community. ELINOR WONDERS WHY encourages children and parents to ask their own questions and experience the joy of discovery and understanding together.
ELINOR WONDERS WHY comes to PBS KIDS from co-creators Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson. Cham is the cartoonist behind the popular online comic “Piled Higher and Deeper” (a.k.a. PHD Comics). He holds a PhD in Robotics from Stanford University and is a former Instructor and Research Associate at Caltech. Whiteson is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine, and a fellow of the American Physical Society. He earned his PhD in Physics from the University of California at Berkeley and is an active researcher, using the Large Hadron Collider at CERN to search for exotic new particles. The two have collaborated on several projects aimed at exploring science-related questions with humor, including a book (“We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe”) and a podcast (“Daniel & Jorge Explain the Universe”).
“We want to encourage children’s curious nature and share with them the fun and joy of discovery. We hope to show children that science is not just a list of facts, but a way of answering questions, and of learning about the world,” said co-creators Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson.
ELINOR WONDERS WHY is being developed as part of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and PBS Ready To Learn Initiative with funding 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.
“Public media’s free and high-quality educational programs, coupled with strong local station engagement efforts in the community, introduce new learning opportunities for children who may not otherwise have access to them,” said Deb Sanchez, Senior Vice President for Education and Children’s Content, CPB. “ELINOR WONDERS WHY supports children’s learning through vital practices like science inquiry, which is a priority of the Ready To Learn grant.”
Each episode of ELINOR WONDERS WHY 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, ELINOR WONDERS WHY will offer digital content for kids, parents and teachers, also debuting in September 2020. ELINOR WONDERS WHY 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. An ELINOR WONDERS WHY app will also launch after the series’ debut. Parent resources, including tips and hands-on activities to extend the learning at home, will be available on the PBS KIDS for Parents site, and PBS LearningMedia will offer classroom-ready materials for teachers, including video excerpts, games, teaching tips and printable activities.
About PBS KIDS
PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers children ages 2-8 the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, digital media and community-based programs. PBS KIDS and local stations across the country support the entire ecosystem in which children learn, including their teachers, parents and community. Provided by stations, the free PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and live stream is available to more than 95% of U.S. TV households. Kidscreen- and Webby Award-winning pbskids.org provides engaging interactive content, including digital games and streaming video. PBS KIDS offers mobile apps to help support young children’s learning, including the PBS KIDS Video app, which is available on a variety of mobile devices and on platforms such as Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and Chromecast. PBS KIDS also offers parent and teacher resources to support children’s learning anytime and anywhere. For more information on PBS KIDS content and initiatives supporting school readiness and more, visit pbs.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
About the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations more than 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services. For more information, visit www.cpb.org and follow us on Twitter @CPBmedia, Facebook and LinkedIn, and subscribe for email updates.
About The Ready To Learn Initiative
The Ready To Learn Initiative is a cooperative agreement funded and managed by the U.S. Department of Education. It supports the development of innovative educational television and digital media targeted to preschool and early elementary school children and their families. Its general goal is to promote early learning and school readiness, with a particular interest in reaching low-income children. In addition to creating television and other media products, the program supports activities intended to promote national distribution of the programming, effective educational uses of the programming, community-based outreach and research on educational effectiveness.
Lubna Abuulbah, PBS; 703.739.8463; firstname.lastname@example.org
Alison Grand, Grand Communications; 917-312-2832; email@example.com
The contents of this release were developed under a grant from the Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. [PR/Award No. U295A150003 CFDA No. 84.295A]