Disney Junior Shifts Focus Away From Educational Programming

The upcoming Disney Junior cable channel is shifting its programming focus away the preschool demographic's traditional academic bent to a more socially-oriented one.

Disney says it chose this approach following a six-month study of 2,200 parents that found that mothers were more concerned about their children picking up behavioral tips than learning academic fundamentals. According to the Wall Street Journal, Disney researchers found that "kids had access to basic facts, but lagged in social skills like sharing or being a good listener."

Four new animated shows unveiled Thursday follow the company's new mantra, among them: Jake and the Neverland Pirates, which encourages group play; the health-oriented Doc McStuffins; and "Little Princesses," which employs Disney characters to teach "caring, self-respect and generosity," notes the New York Times.

Flagship series Mickey Mouse Clubhouse will move from Disney Channel to Disney Junior with a revamp aimed to make it less academic.

Disney Junior debuts in 2012 and targets children ages 2 to 7.