Peep has a New Spanish-Speaking Character

Para español da click aquí.

Photo courtesy WGBH, all rights reserved

I have good news!  PEEP and the Big Wide World is returning to public television and you cannot miss the season premier this Monday, October 10, 2011 (please check your local listings).

This Emmy and Parent’s Choice Award winning program for preschoolers celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with the inclusion of a new, colorful, and Spanish-speaking  character:  Splendid Bird From Paradise.  Check out the clip:

In the two-part episode “Two’s a Crowd,” Peep, Chirp, and Quack meet the beautiful Splendid Bird From Paradise and together, using math concepts, look for the perfect house for Splendid Bird From Paradise before it gets cold.  My kids and I had the opportunity to see the advance screening and it was a delight! The other four new episodes are:

  • The Road Not Taken
  • Soap Opera
  • Quack and the Amazing Sandy Magic
  • Things that Go Peep in the Night

But that’s not all, this season includes live-action videos featuring English and Spanish speaking parents investigating math and science concepts with their kids. I totally loved it, my kids looked at me and said, “Mamá, they are speaking Spanish!.”

Kate Taylor, PEEP´s Senior Executive Producer generously answered a few of my questions, here they are:

Will Splendid Bird from Paradise be a permanent character on Peep or just a guest for Hispanic Heritage Month?
Yes, now that Peep, Quack, and Chirp have given Splendid Bird of Paradise her own home, we plan for her to be a permanent character on PEEP.

The colorful bird is funny and charismatic, how did the Peep team come up with the idea of this specific bird?
We knew that in order to reach Latino children,  the character we designed needed to be authentic. This is why we had Splendid Bird speak Spanish and made sure that the girl who voices her is bilingual. Secondly, we wanted her to appeal to kids through her colorful design and glorious pouf. (Chirp loves her pouf!)  Again, to ensure authenticity, we based her design on a number of birds one might find in the rainforest in Central or South America where Spanish is the native language.

Thank you for making the parent segments with bilingual family members, my kids looked at me and said, “Mama, they are speaking Spanish!”  What was the rationale for having bilingual parent segments?  Was it a difficult decision?
Well, having parents in our live-action segments is new for PEEP this year. In the past, it’s only been kids. But we realized that if we wanted to encourage greater family involvement in children’s math and science explorations, we needed to model for parents how to participate in math and science play with their kids. We especially wanted to reach Latino parents. Research has shown that first-generation Spanish-speaking families want to support their children’s science learning but typically aren’t sure how to do that. Thus, we felt it was important to provide role models for them, as well. We’re very pleased with how the family videos turned out, and plan to produce more of them.

Will we see more bilingual characters in the future?
While we have been able to make many of PEEP’s resources accessible to Spanish-speaking viewers—rare in children’s media—we recognize that we must do more to encourage parents to use these resources. So, we have begun to develop future initiatives, which may include more bilingual characters, to get more kids and their families to think of science and math as fun, creative, active, and an effective way to solve problems.

Thank you Kate for answering my questions!.

I invite you to visit Peep and the Big Wide World’s website for videos, resources, games, and activities in both English and Spanish.  You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter @peepchirpquack, or YouTube.
And you can always see episodes of PEEP in Spanish on V-me (please check your local listings).

Silvia Martinez
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