Programming Encouraging Civic Engagement Through Media Literacy

At the start of 2024, PBS KIDS began rolling out a slate of civics-themed content across a range of both new and existing series, encouraging children to get involved in their communities and learn more about what is happening around them.

The programming, which will expand on the PBS KIDS social studies learning goals, will feature a second season of the animated shorts series City Island and two new music video seriesCity Island Sings and Together We Can (working title), 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.

The 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. 

City Island is set in a thriving metropolis and living city, where every object is a character. It includes local organizations, government institutions, and a diverse citizenry while highlighting topics such as cooperation, conflict resolution, and city planning. The series aims to help foster young viewers’ understanding of how cities and communities work.

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 spinoff seriesCity Island Sings, which encompasses 10 music videos that will debut across streaming platforms every Wednesday and Friday, beginning May 29, 2024.

Season 2 of the City Island series, which will include 20 episodes that will roll out every Friday, is set to premiere on July 5, 2024. Season 2 will build on the first season’s focus on civic engagement, expanding the curricular focus to media literacy and covering topics such as news media, fact-based reporting, advertisements, and the flow of information on the internet.

The new music-focused series Together We Can (working title), for children aged 4–8, 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 the US Constitution. Together We Can will premiere the first 10 episodes on July 3, 2024, with the remaining ten rolling out on August 7.

New content, including new episodes of Rosie’s Rules, will join the existing civics-oriented offerings of PBS KIDS, such as You, Me & Community, a series of animated shorts about broader civics themes with catchy songs, covering roles and responsibilities in communities, different kinds of families, creation of positive change in the community, and more.

Slated for October 2024 is a playlist of civics-focused episodes from the hit PBS KIDS series Arthur, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Molly of Denali, Alma’s Way, Peg + Catand Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum.

Share this post: