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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt sharpens early education focus with acquisition of Curiosityville

Curiosityville uses activities, games, and “playful characters” such as Rosie to help young children develop learning skills.Graphic taken from Curiosityville’s website.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a Boston-based publisher with a long heritage in textbooks, said it has acquired Curiosityville, an online tool designed to help children between the ages of 3 and 8 to develop learning skills through “playful exploration and discovery.”

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

As it looks to transition into a digital education company, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, or HMH, said it sees early childhood education as a “significant growth area for the company.”

Much of the company’s business is selling educational software to school districts, but over the last few months, it has escalated efforts to augment its core business by launching education products that parents might buy for their children.

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One product that HMH sells to school systems is called “Go Math!”

Last month, HMH launched an at-home learning product called “Go Math! Academy,” which builds off the “Go Math!” curriculum.

“Go Math! Academy” helps kids from kindergarten through sixth grade to hone math skills on their own.

With “Go Math! Academy,” the children of parents who pay subscription fees can access hundreds of “entertaining video lessons taught by expert educators,” HMH said. Subscription fees can range from $9.99 a month to $79.99 a year, according to “Go Math! Academy’s” website.

The acquisition of Curiosityville is a component of this strategy of looking to sell products that are used by children outside of school, the company said. (Curiosityville appears to use a similar subscription model as “Go Math! Academy.)

“The acquisition will be a core element of HMH’s early childhood education offering, which represents a significant growth area for the company,” the HMH press release said.

“Curiosityville fits perfectly with our mission and commitment to cultivating curiosity and a passion for learning in young children,” HMH chief executive Linda Zecher said in the statement. “We place enormous value in the impact of early childhood education, both at home and in pre-school settings, and believe that the incorporation of Curiosityville into our own robust offering for young learners will enable us to deliver a unique, engaging, research-based solution to parents and educators alike.”

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Curiosityville is the second acquisition that HMH has disclosed this month.

HMH recently said it has acquired Channel One News, a 25-year-old company that now transmits daily news programs to nearly 5 million upper elementary, middle, and high school students across the United States.


Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.