Wizard Academy!

We’re very excited to let you know that the new ARTHUR game, WIZARD ACADEMY, has launched!

You can find it in the PBS Kids games app, on the PBS Kids site, and on the ARTHUR site at: https://pbskids.org/arthur/games/wizard-academy

Welcome to Wizard Academy! Arthur is ready to begin his magical training, but the troublemaker Moldywart has stolen the textbooks AND whisked away all the students! Arthur needs your help to learn new spells, save his friends, and ultimately defeat Moldywart in his tower lair – revealing more secret passages and silly potions to explore! Can Arthur save his beloved school? It’s all up to you!

The game features:

  • 10 increasingly challenging levels, set at Pigblisters Wizard Academy (as introduced in the TV show)
  • 4 richly decorated areas of the academy: the library wing, the botanical wing, the abandoned wing, and Moldywart’s tower hideaway
  • A boss battle where you come face to face with the very naughty Moldywart!
  • A full set of hidden passages and treasures in all 10 levels, available only once you’ve defeated Moldywart
  • 4 magical spells to learn
  • 18 classmates to rescue (plus Professor Rattledore!)
  • Hundreds of coins to collect throughout the levels, with the chance to earn 12 bonus outfits
  • 15 deep, dark (and funny) secrets to learn about Moldywart
  • An original soundtrack, including scene-setting moody themes for the main gameplay, and silly songs for the potions
  • 9 silly potions to discover in the secret passages (and then experience!):
    • Duck Shoes potion
    • Snow potion
    • Bubbles potion
    • Fireworks potion
    • Crazy Bus potion (the most annoying potion EVER created!)
    • Happy Birthday potion (with an Easter egg on Arthur’s ACTUAL birthday!)
    • Storm potion
    • Dance potion (featuring a dance version of the ARTHUR theme song)
    • Cow potion


  • Nolan (Digital Designer): lead game design, character design, level design, main music themes
  • Jolin (Senior Developer): lead game developer
  • Jenny (Associate Digital Designer): design support, decorative artwork, potion art
  • Gentry (Senior Producer): story, script, sound design, original potion music, voice of Moldywart (Mwah-hah-hah-haaaa…)

Thanks also to the full ARTHUR team, including Kacie and Carol for their feedback, and Kate for budget support; Melissa and the digital team at PBS; and Tolon and Marc Brown.

Widening the Reach for Early Literacy

Spanish translation of HGSE’s pre-literacy app Small Wonders, produced by Reach Every Reader and GBH, lets more families play and learn

Over half of American children are not proficient readers by the end of third grade, a year that represents a significant benchmark for a child’s educational trajectory. And researchers know that early literacy lays the groundwork for later success; a student who is unable to read adequately in first grade has a 90% chance of reading poorly in fourth grade, and a 75% chance of reading poorly in high school. 
As part of its work to provide comprehensive early literacy solutions through research in education, developmental psychology, and technology, the Reach Every Reader initiative — a collaboration between the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Integrated Learning Initiative, and Florida State University — is expanding access to its pioneering Small Wonders app. 

In partnership with GBH, the leading multiplatform creator for public media  that jointly developed Small Wonders, Reach Every Reader is now releasing a free Spanish translation, Vaivén de Palabras, to enable Spanish-speaking families to engage in the kind of conversational back-and-forth and play- or curiosity-based exchanges that are key to fueling early literacy.

Early Learning Apps

The English-language version of Small Wonders was released in spring 2021 as part of Reach Every Reader’s innovative approach to making early literacy widely accessible in new formats — in this case, via interactive, educational games and activities designed for children and their parents, available for free as apps for mobile devices. Small Wonders was one of three pre-literacy apps that HGSE released at the time, along with Animal Antics and Photo Play. Since then, the apps have garnered nearly 30,000 downloads, and Animal Antics and Small Wonders were selected for the Notable Children’s Digital Media List by the Association for Library Service to Children. 

Now, the team behind Small Wonders — which includes app developers from GBH and researchers from Reach Every Reader — is expanding that reach with Vaivén de Palabras.

HGSE Senior Lecturer Joe Blatt, a faculty co-chair of the Learning Design, Innovation, and Technology master’s program at HGSE, developed the Small Wonders app in collaboration with HGSE Professor Paola Uccelli, Lecturer David Dockterman, and researcher Rosa Turco, then a doctoral candidate who has since earned her Ph.D. from Harvard.

“We know that parents want to support their children’s readiness to learn how to read and write. We created the Reach Every Reader pre-literacy apps to help families do this, by providing fun games and activities that incorporate parent-friendly prompts for sustained conversation and vocabulary growth,” says Blatt. “By sharing these apps for free, we hope to make a difference for all children — so we are delighted that the Small Wonders approach to literacy is now even more accessible to Spanish-speaking families. We hope that Vaivén de Palabras brings joyful interaction and preparation for reading to an even broader audience of parents and children.”

“Vaivén de Palabras promotes back-and-forth conversations for Spanish-speaking families, so that parents can engage their young children in the language they know best.”

GBH’s Senior Executive Producer and Director of Digital Partnerships Bill Shribman led the production team that developed the app with HGSE. “We were delighted to be able to bring GBH’s expertise in creating educationally-based and intergeneration games in partnership with HGSE to encourage early literacy,” says Shribman. “Now with a fully translated version of our Small Wonders app, including Spanish versions of its many videos and catchy songs, we are excited that Vaivén de Palabras can reach a whole new Spanish-speaking audience.”

From the Reach Every Reader team, Uccelli and Turco led the research behind the app’s translated edition, ensuring that conversational interplay stayed at the center. Unlike other apps, which may tend to create distance between parents and children, Small Wonders/Vaivén de Palabras focuses on relationship building and talking as a pathway to learning. “Vaivén de Palabras was designed to bring parents and children closer by providing ideas for fun conversations that support young children’s literacy development and overall learning,” says Uccelli.

The app “promotes back-and-forth conversations for Spanish-speaking families, so that parents can engage their young children in the language they know best,” she continues. “Sharing personal anecdotes, creating imaginary stories, planning future events, and explaining and discussing emotions are all examples of back-and-forth conversations that parents and children can enjoy while using the app, but also beyond the app. What children learn while talking to their parents in Spanish will offer them a foundation for literacy not only in Spanish but also in English.”

Indeed, research shows that children with a strong foundation in their first language have a significantly easier time learning English, and it is beneficial for parents to talk to their children in their own first language. Vaivén de Palabras has the potential to expand pre-literacy support for millions of children and their families.

Vaivén de Palabras and HGSE’s other pre-literacy apps for families are currently available for free on the App Store and the Google Play Store.

The GBH team included Gentry, Bill, Kevin, Dan, Nolan, Jeff, Lizzy, Li, Louise, Kit, Sienna, Kimberley, Sophie, Mike, Bethany, Marnie, Alan, and Kate. Translation services provided by centauro.com.

GBH Kids Catalyst Fund 

GBH reaches millions of children, families and teachers in Boston and across the country through engaging and interactive content available for free across multiple platforms. The GBH Kids Catalyst Fund supports the Foundation’s long-standing commitment to developing learning media approaches that will connect with and serve a broad and diverse audience and help close the learning gaps for marginalized communities.

Addressing the critical need for inclusive, research-based, widely-accessible quality children’s resources, gifts to the fund will allow our team to continue to produce both popular programming and community and classroom learning media tools for kids, as well as establish partnerships that help to advance this work.

For more information about supporting the GBH Kids Catalyst Fund, please contact:
Tatiana Burgos-Espinal
Associate Director of Major Gifts

For more information about including children’s programming in your estate plans, please contact:
Julie Hallowell
Director of Gift Planning and Endowment

Search It Up: The Game

GBH Kids Digital is excited to announce the launch of “Search It Up: The Game” to complement their award-winning series of live-action shorts, Search It Up!

Funded by Comcast’s Internet Essentials, “Search It Up: The Game” is designed to help kids 4-7 safely explore and enjoy the world they’re already in, the world of computers, tablets, sharing, and the internet. It offers eight mini-games, each based on a fun, kid-friendly theme. Through lively gameplay, kids learn how to be a digital upstander; how to judge which photos should (and shouldn’t) be shared; how to have healthy boundaries for digital content; which calls and texts to respond to; and, surprisingly, that even cows can be connected to the internet!  

“Search It Up: The Game” was created by Senior Executive Producer & Director of Digital Partnerships Bill Shribman, Senior Digital Producer Gentry Menzel, Senior Developer Jolin Yim, Senior Digital Designer Becca Quigley, Senior Digital Designer Jesse Haley, Associate Digital Designer Jenny DeMarines, Associate Digital Designer Lauren Kane, with support from Business Manager Kate Hewitt. Original music by Geoff Adams.

We’re Hiring a Research Director!

Photo: c. Bill Shribman, GBH

GBH Education is seeking a Director of Research and Evaluation. GBH is a public media leader, based in Boston. 

This role reports to the Executive Director of Education and is responsible for leading the department’s research and evaluation efforts across a variety of interesting projects across school-based and out-of-school/community based educational settings. We’re looking for someone with excellent formative, summative, and market research chops, knowledge about edtech (K-12) or educational media (early childhood, youth), and associated quantitative and qualitative research methods expertise. 

The role is social impact oriented, and requires grant writing, communication, and people skills. We need someone who brings a service mentality working with internal clients in multifunctional teams. Good candidates would understand the nonprofit ethos yet be facile with product development research, and be strategic thinkers yet detail oriented. 

Advanced graduate degree in learning sciences, education, child/youth/human development, communication, or social sciences required. Candidates from underrepresented groups are particularly welcome to apply. 

More details and link to apply here.

GBH Kids Scriptwriting Fellowship


The GBH Kids Scriptwriting Fellowship is a program designed to mentor early-career writers, who are members of underrepresented groups in the greater children’s media industry (including individuals of African American, Asian, Latinx/Hispanic, Native American, and Pacific Islander descent), in writing scripts for a GBH KIDS animated series focused on STEM learning.

The goal is to diversify the pipeline of writers for both this show and the greater children’s media industry, with a hands-on learning experience in television writing for children and an opportunity for their scripts to be produced for this new series.

To learn more visit, https://www.wgbh.org/gbhkidsfellowship.

Please spread the word to others who may be interested.

Back to School!

Celebrate at Lakewood Elementary with the BACK TO SCHOOL game! Arthur has new responsibilities helping Mr. Ratburn, and making sure the kindergarteners have a smooth transition to their new school.

Take care of classroom chores, hand out invitations, retrieve library books, and help everyone navigate the busy cafeteria. Along the way, collect decorations for the First Day Dance. Take it from Mr. Ratburn: school is the best place to have fun!

This game was made by Gentry, Nolan, Kal and Kate.