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PBS KIDS' Civics Content Initiative will begin this year


Beginning this year, PBS KIDS is rolling out a full slate of civics-themed content. The effort will span across a range of both new and existing series aimed at encouraging viewers to get involved in their communities and learn more about what’s happening around them. The programming, which will expand on PBS KIDS’ Social Studies learning goals, will feature a second season of hit shorts series, CITY ISLAND, and two new music video series, City Island Sings and Together We Can (w.t), created with Sesame Workshop. PBS KIDS is also in development with TIME Studios on a live-action shorts series supporting civic engagement through media literacy.

“Kids are so perceptive to everything happening around them, and at PBS KIDS, we believe it’s important that they have a place to go to learn about civics in an age-appropriate way,” said Sara DeWitt, Senior Vice President and General Manager, PBS KIDS. “At a time when many K-12 schools have cut back on civics curriculum requirements, we are significantly expanding our offerings to meet the growing need, reinforce the core principles of citizenship, and help kids understand how they can be a good neighbor and have a positive and lasting impact in their communities.”

PBS KIDS’ civics-focused content integrates foundational Social Studies concepts to support the core idea that everyone, including children, can be active and contributing members of their home, school, and broader communities. When they work together as a member of a group, conduct themselves responsibly, and develop conflict-resolution skills, children begin to explore ideas at the heart of government and the democratic process. This content, including City Island Sings, City Island Season 2, Together We Can (w.t.), and Rosie's Rules were made possible with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. CPB and PBS KIDS are committed to helping all kids become informed citizens and active members of their communities.

The growing world of CITY ISLAND will include a new suite of games that will enable young players to become City Island citizens, along with a new music video spin-off series, City Island Sings, which encompasses 10 music videos that will debut across streaming platforms every Wednesday and Friday beginning May 29. Season 2 of the series, which will include 20 episodes that will roll out every Friday, is set to premiere on July 5 and builds on the first season’s focus on civic engagement, expanding the curricular focus to media literacy, covering topics such as news media, fact-based reporting, advertisements, and the flow of information on the internet.

City Island, from creator Aaron Augenblick and Future Brain Media, is a series of animated shorts for early elementary school-aged children set in a thriving metropolis and living city, where every object is a character. It includes local organizations, government institutions, and a diverse citizenry (like main character Watt, a lightbulb, and his friend Windy, a kite), while highlighting topics like cooperation, conflict resolution, and city planning. The series aims to help foster young viewers’ understanding of how cities and communities work.

New music-focused series Together We Can (w.t.), created and produced by Sesame Workshop, consists of 20 live-action music videos that cover civics topics such as what it means to be a member of a community, the importance of rules and rights, and broader civics engagement concepts from voting and symbols of democracy to our Constitution. Together We Can, for children 4-8, will premiere the first ten episodes on July 3, with the remaining ten rolling out on August 7.

New content, including new episodes of Rosie's Rules, will join PBS KIDS’ existing civics-oriented offerings, like You, Me & Community, a series of animated shorts about broader civics themes with catchy songs that cover roles and responsibilities in communities, different kinds of families, creating positive change in your community, and more. In addition, slated for October is a playlist of civics-focused episodes from hit PBS KIDS series such as Arthur, Rosie's Rules, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Molly of Denali, Alma's Way, Peg + Cat, and Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum.