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Playhouse Disney Preschool Time Online Launches

Disney Online, part of the Walt Disney Internet Group, in partnership with Disney Channel, has launched a new broadband subscription product called Playhouse Disney Preschool Time Online. The service is available for an annual subscription fee of $49.95. Parents can log-on to to subscribe to the product or to access a free trial.

Playhouse Disney Preschool Time Online offers parents a safe, ad-free environment where their children can enjoy a slate of regularly updated activities that encourage learning through play. Hosted by "Bear" from Disney Channel's BEAR IN THE BIG BLUE HOUSE, Preschool Time Online was developed in conjunction with educational experts to create a fun way to help preschoolers develop important kindergarten readiness skills.

Key features include:* Popular characters from Playhouse Disney series including JOJO'S CIRCUS, HIGGLYTOWN HEROES, STANLEY, plus Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse and Pals, among others.* A sequence of well-rounded interactive activities including puzzles and games that level in difficulty based on a child's performance.* A focus on development of kindergarten readiness skills including letter and number recognition and color and shape identification. For example, a child can learn about numbers with JoJo by popping balloons that are labeled with the number three.* Themes such as "bravery" or "sharing" that are incorporated throughout each sequenced set of activities.* New updates every two weeks that provide a constant source of new, fun learning activities.* Parents' Corner area where adults can manage multiple children's profiles and track their child's activity.

"Preschoolers learn through play and through my research I've seen that the unique properties of the Internet can be employed creatively to help feed the insatiable curiosity of young children," said Debra Lieberman, a key educational expert who helped spearhead the service's educational philosophy and academic structure. "Playhouse Disney Preschool Time Online was designed specifically to do this. It responds to kids' natural desire to learn through play with activities that center around exploring, imagination, developing skills and constructing knowledge. It is a great complement to preschool learning for building such skills as letter and number recognition."

"Playhouse Disney Preschool Time Online allows children to learn through a fun setting where they get to interact with their favorite characters, in a dynamic environment that regularly offers new activities," said Ken Goldstein, evp/managing director of Disney Online. "The increase in broadband use in the home has allowed us to offer an experience that combines rich graphics, video content and character voices to capture kids' imaginations and deliver personalized learning that grows with each individual child."

Playhouse Disney Preschool Time Online employs the principles of the "whole child curriculum" a learning philosophy, which is also the cornerstone for the Playhouse Disney brand and programming. Under the consultancy of Dr. Renee Cherow-O'Leary, Playhouse Disney's philosophy of education, based on Howard Gardner's work on Multiple Intelligences, suggests that intelligence and learning is a much broader concept than just mastering ABCs and 123s. Within this framework, children can develop multiple skill areas through sequenced learning and free play activities. Learning areas covered in Playhouse Disney Preschool Time Online include social skills, thinking skills, early academics, ethical development, daily living skills, computer skills, imagination, and self-expression.

Playhouse Disney is a daily programming block on Disney Channel for preschoolers featuring original series, interstitials and acquired programming.

Disney Online ( produces the number one kids' entertainment and family community destination on the Web. Launched in 1995, is designed to reflect the vision of an "online theme park," providing an interactive gateway to all of the company's many Disney-branded Internet initiatives.

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