New PBS KIDS Series, WORK IT OUT WOMBATS!, Premieres February 6, 2023
Animated Series from GBH Kids and Pipeline Studios Will Help Kids Build Important Skills to Solve Problems and Express Themselves
July 27, 2022
PASADENA, CA (July 27, 2022) – Today at the Television Critics Association Press Tour, PBS KIDS announced the premiere date for WORK IT OUT WOMBATS!, a new animated series for kids ages 3-6 produced by GBH Kids and Pipeline Studios, starring a playful trio of marsupial siblings—Malik, Zadie and Zeke—who live with their grandmother
“The Wombats are all about exploring the world around them and, much like preschoolers, their curiosity and love of adventure know no bounds,” said Sara DeWitt, Senior Vice President and General Manager, PBS KIDS. “Computational thinking is a way of approaching problems in strategic ways, helping young children respond and adapt to the world around them. We’re excited for viewers to explore these foundational skills and mindsets while having fun with their new marsupial friends.”
WORK IT OUT WOMBATS! takes place in the Treeborhood—a massive treehouse complete with secret passageways, gondolas and rope swings. The residents of the Treeborhood—wombats, snakes, moose, kangaroos, iguanas, fish, tarsiers and eagles—bring varied skills and abilities, assorted ways of thinking, and different family structures and traditions to this diverse and vibrant community of neighbors, a place where even the adults join in the play.
“Malik, Zadie and Zeke are passionate about their goals, but they don’t always know the best way to go about meeting them,” said Marcy Gunther and Marisa Wolsky, executive producers, GBH Kids. “But in every story, we see the Wombats using computational thinking, a powerful toolkit, to work it out.”
“WORK IT OUT WOMBATS! strikes a perfect balance of telling stories for preschoolers that are educational, fun and engaging. Bringing an exciting world filled with diverse characters to life has been incredibly empowering for our artists and technical talent,” said Luis Lopez, executive producer, Pipeline Studios.
Full of endless energy, Malik, Zadie and Zeke run, bounce, roll and romp, always on the lookout for interesting Treeborhood problems to solve. Malik is thoughtful, considerate and sometimes set in his ways (which can be a good thing when you’re problem-solving). His speedy, adventurous younger sister, Zadie, is a brainstormer extraordinaire, with ideas that range from silly to very smart. Zeke is the youngest sibling—a funny, curious cuddle-bug who loves to play and explore. Super, their grandmother, is the Superintendent and unofficial “Mayor” of the Treeborhood.
Each episode includes two 11-minute stories, accompanied by a 90-second music video, featuring the Wombats as they demonstrate their computational thinking skills, learning as they go. Their aspirations sometimes exceed their abilities, but with every problem they encounter, the trio stops, takes a breath, puts their heads together and comes up with a workable solution, using the design process, sequencing, debugging and other key computational thinking skills. Whether they are tackling a big mess by breaking down the job into smaller tasks, creating a process for finding a lost beloved stuffy or solving the mystery of a scary sound in the neighborhood, the Wombats are always able to work it out.
In producing WORK IT OUT WOMBATS!, GBH Kids, the award-winning public media producer, and Pipeline Studios, a leading global entertainment company, have been deliberate in taking an inclusive and authentic approach to telling stories. Marcy Gunther and Marisa Wolsky are executive producers for GBH Kids. Luis Lopez and Juan Lopez are executive producers for Pipeline Studios. Marina Bers, Ph.D., a leader in the field of computational thinking and professor at Tufts University, is the content director. Creative producers Darlene Mortel Edouard, Ph.D. and Kareem Edouard, Ph.D, who have expertise in cultural and visual studies, intersectionality, and STEM engagement from communities underrepresented in STEM fields, help ensure that all aspects of the series are looked at through the lens of culture and inclusion.
WORK IT OUT WOMBATS! games will launch in tandem with the series on pbskids.org and the free PBS KIDS Games App. To extend the learning at home, parent and caregiver resources, including tips and hands-on activities, will be available on PBS KIDS for Parents. For educators, PBS LearningMedia will offer classroom-ready materials, including videos, games, teaching tips and printable activities.
The series is 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.
“WORK IT OUT WOMBATS introduces problem-solving, critical thinking and collaboration to young learners in a fun and age-appropriate way, helping children get excited about learning and laying important groundwork for success in school and life,” said Debra Tica Sanchez, Senior Vice President, Educational Media and Learning Experiences, Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Major funding for WORK IT OUT WOMBATS! is provided by: a Ready To Learn Grant from the U.S. Department of Education; the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; and public television viewers. Additional funding is provided by the National Science Foundation and the GBH Kids Catalyst Fund.
About PBS KIDS
PBS KIDS believes the world is full of possibilities, and so is every child. As the number one educational media brand for kids, PBS KIDS helps children ages 2-8 learn lessons that last a lifetime. Through media and community-based programs, PBS KIDS wants children to see themselves uniquely reflected and celebrated in lovable, diverse characters who serve as positive role models, and to explore their feelings and discover new adventures along the way. Families can stream PBS KIDS for free anytime, no subscription required. A large collection of mobile apps and pbskids.org provide accessible content that spark kids’ curiosity. PBS KIDS and local stations across the country support the entire ecosystem in which children learn and grow—including their teachers and caregivers, parents, and community—providing resources accessible anytime and anywhere. For more information, visit pbs.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
About GBH Kids
GBH Kids is one of the top producers for public media, creating educational content for kids, parents, caregivers and teachers, including iconic PBS KIDS programs such as the award-winning Arthur and Molly of Denali, digital series such as Scribbles and Ink, games, apps and podcasts. GBH Kids, based in Boston, also works closely with PBS LearningMedia, providing digital curricula for more than 2 million teachers across all 50 states. GBH Kids is committed to equity and access to educational media and the healthy development of all children. As the inventor of closed captioning and audio description, GBH is dedicated to making media accessible and inclusive. Find more information at gbh.org/kids
About Pipeline Studios
Pipeline Studios is a leading global entertainment company that focuses on developing, producing and distributing award-winning animated content for audiences worldwide. Pipeline continues to expand with top international talent and robust animation technology across its offices worldwide. As an industry leader in animated content, Pipeline Studios’ extensive credit list includes Alma’s Way and Elinor Wonders Why (PBS KIDS), Sunny Day and Bubble Guppies (Nickelodeon), Star vs. the Forces of Evil (Disney Channel) and more. Active production partners include PBS KIDS, Netflix, Nick Jr., NBC Universal, Disney Junior, Discovery, CBC Kids and more. Find more information at pipelinestudios.com, and follow Pipeline Studios on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation authorized by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,500 locally managed and operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services. For more information, visit cpb.org, follow us on Twitter @CPBmedia, Facebook and LinkedIn and subscribe for other 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’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE). 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 children living in low-income households. 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.
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The contents of this document were developed under grants from the Department of Education and from the National Science Foundation. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education and/or the National Science Foundation, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. The project is funded by a Ready To Learn grant [PR/Award No. S295A200004, CFDA No. 84.295A] provided by the Department of Education to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and by a grant from the National Science Foundation (DRL-2005975) to WGBH Educational Foundation.