What Is KLRU Play To Learn?

Story by Marianne Nguyen, Play To Learn Program Director

They call me “maestra” (teacher) but really I’m just a facilitator. Because it is them, the parents and caretakers, who do the hard work. They may not know this yet, but they have everything they need to be their children’s first teachers. While they’re already so busy running a house in difficult financial circumstances, they are also taking care of the basic needs of their young children and they still manage to make time to join us at our Play To Learn workshops. They are unmistakably there every week, ready to sing our songs, get down at kid level, and further their knowledge about parenting with other families of the community.

This week, my hat’s off to the 40 families who graduated from Play To Learn and, in doing so, earned a PBS KIDS Playtime Pad tablet.

KLRU is proud to host Play To Learn for the 6th consecutive year with funding from the City of Austin and additional support from the United Way for Greater Austin. This year, over 70 families graduated in the 6 groups we formed in areas of Austin where Kindergarten readiness is a critical factor for school success. The children who participate in Play To Learn are between 2 and 4 years old and not signed up in any formal school or daycare. So for most of these kiddos, this is their first exposure to a “class” setting.

So what is Play To Learn exactly?

Play To Learn is about school readiness, about communicating the latest trends in early childhood (EC) education to those who need it most (60% of low income kids enter school not ready). It’s also about the smart use of screen time with little ones in these rapidly changing times. But most of all it’s about community.

Each weekly two-hour session follows a routine including a time for free play, a circle time, different centers every week to explore various early childhood concepts, a story time, a dance/movement component and an app to help further those skills. We spend a portion of each class working with the Playtime Pads that they will keep when they graduate. This allows them to familiarize themselves with the device and get support if needed.

The 10-week program is composed of 8 classes, one orientation session at the beginning, and a graduation at the end. In only 8 classes, we explore an exhaustive list of early childhood topics: Fine Motor Skills, Gross Motor Skills, Language Development, Early Literacy, Social-Emotional learning etc… and how those skills can be strengthened at home with very few resources. And the best part about these classes is that they are meant for both the child AND the caretaker. Each week, they get a take home bag with a book and basic materials for additional activities at home. And I even give them homework for the following week! It’s the beginning of a long relationship between school and home which we hope will remain healthy for years to come. But for some of them, it’s also a new way of looking at school and learning: it doesn’t have to be intimidating, difficult or boring. These families now know that the best way to learn is by playing and enjoying themselves together! The Playtime Pads that they take home at the end of the program come with a long list of educational apps from Sesame Workshop and PBS KIDS already installed. Therefore, if their child wants to use technology, they can be assured to always have a safe and educational option to offer them.

I must admit that I am amazed at the progress that can be observed in such a short amount of time. I have seen kiddos come to their first class hiding behind their moms and not even wanting to look me in the eyes. And after the first high five in second class, the metamorphosis to the time they graduate is incredible. When we say our goodbyes at graduation, they righteously feel so proud of their accomplishments and are ready to give me a big hug!

This proves the importance of early childhood learning. While a lot of children’s first exposure to an education professional usually occurs when they enter the public school system (typically at 4-5 years old), the latest research shows that it is between the ages of 0 to 5 that the human brain develops the most connections. And the exposure to positive human interactions during this crucial time has a tremendous effect on the quality of those connections. By playing, singing, reading, discussing with their young ones, these caretakers are doing the most important work for their children.

This is why I am so proud of the families who graduated from our workshops. We at KLRU are happy to be a part of their lives. We hope they continue to grow together as their child advances through their years in school, and that we will remain a trusted resource for them along the way. I wish these kiddos all the success in the world. They are already equipped with amazing support to get there!

Meet The Stanton Family

What do science lessons and family bonding have in common? For Patrick, Lucinda and Naomi Stanton, the connection comes from their time together at the Ruff Ruffman Family & Community Learning workshop.

The Stantons participated in this four week series along with other area families. Designed to spark STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) interest in young children, the workshop also empowers parents like Patrick and Lucinda to support their child’s education both at school and home.

“With the four weeks of science projects and doing things and meeting different people, Naomi learned a lot. It was awesome!” Patrick’s observation of his daughter’s time at the Ruff Ruffman workshop is a testament to what a valuable experience these sessions are for kids and parents alike.

Low-income and underserved households are often less equipped to address learning gaps. KLRU’s collaboration with key community partners addresses critical needs in early education by presenting lessons through play and hands-on activities. Research-based, engaging outreach to Central Texas families provides practical tools that these participants can continue to utilize well beyond the workshop.

Miriam Mendoza, KLRU’s Project Director for Ready To Learn says “I just like those little moments where the parent realizes ‘Wow, my child can learn through playing and I can be a part of that.’”

Each session starts with a meal, giving the adults the chance to talk and connect with neighbors who also have young families. Spending quality time with neighbors expands the support network for all these parents, which in turn supports all the children in their STEM progress.

Lucinda was particularly excited about the PBS KIDS Playtime Pad Naomi received after graduating from Ruff Ruffman. “It has a lot of learning apps: reading, drawing, spelling. It’s helping her to get more familiar with computers because they use them at school. And it actually helped me out too.” For some families, this is the first device they’ve brought home. This access lets kids hone technology skills and engage in creative, thoughtful play.

The Stantons gained the confidence at our Family & Community Learning workshop to tackle hands-on engineering projects together. KLRU’s Ready To Learn promotes early learning and school readiness while striving to build a more informed and connected Central Texas. And from Naomi’s smiles, this is just the first of many exciting STEM discoveries that she’ll make with her parents there to cheer her on.

“We’re thankful for the educational workshops KLRU provides in the community.”

                                                                                                        – The Stanton Family————————————————————————

Do you value KLRU? Find out how to help at klru.org.value

Family & Community Learning (FCL) workshops are part of the Community Collaboratives for Early Learning and Media (CC-ELM) project through the Ready to Learn (RTL) initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS.

          

Get to know KLRU’s early childhood community partners: Thinkery, Communities In Schools of Central Texas and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area. These local organizations are essential to the success of our workshops! They recruit families like the Stantons, they provide the space and their staff lead instruction.

Check out additional information about KLRU’s time at the Ruff Ruffman camp.

Read more about KLRU’s involvement with Ready To Learn (RTL) and Family & Community Learning (FCL).

PBS Edcamp for Early Childhood Educators

KLRU and Child Inc. partnered together to hold our first ever PBS Edcamp for Early Childhood Educators, Saturday, February 17th from 10am to 2pm. We were thrilled that 125 registrants participated when we had planned for 80!

This free “unconference” provided educators who work with children in child care centers, homes, head start classrooms, and school districts with a space to share, collaborate and learn from each other while fostering a sense of community.

Participants proposed topics they wanted to discuss or learn more about, built the agenda and then chose sessions to attend based on their interests and experiences. PBS Education and Edcamp staff were on hand to guide the participants through the process.

Participants were able to connect with colleagues facing similar challenges, learn new tips, share ideas, and in some cases, relate emotional experiences.

One participant said, “I thought this Edcamp was really valuable. When I came, my expectation was to get more ideas or listen to the facilitator or the presenter … but I got most of my ideas and things that I’m going to take back to my program from listening to the professionals that were right there in the room with me…This is the first time that I have ever been to a workshop like this — where they listen to US!”

KLRU and PBS will be offering a “lite” Edcamp during SXSWedu on March 6th from noon-5pm! Contact Mary Alice Appleman, 512-475-9051 for more information.

KLRU & BGCAA: Ruff Ruffman Sensational Science Camp

KLRU and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area joined forces to offer a fun 4-day Ruff Ruffman Sensational Science Camp for 10 kids ages 5-8 at Meadowbrook Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) club. The children learned about science through hands-on projects, digital games, and videos that revolve around one of our favorite PBS KIDS characters, Ruff Ruffman. The kids learned to think like scientists as they engaged in the engineering design process which focuses on identifying real-world problems and designing solutions.

It’s great to be able to listen to the children’s perspective on their camp experience. Brittany Gant, the Boys & Girls Clubs STEM Coordinator, came up with the idea of having the kids vlog.  She wanted them to be comfortable when talking about what they learned. Brittany explains that she “allowed club members to be in their element, technology based social media, and integrate it with what they were learning at the Ruff Ruffman camp so that they could connect it to their lives in a meaningful way.”

We asked three 8 year old girls about their science camp experience. Meet Karlee, Ferrah, and Brooklyn! Watch the video above to hear them talking about the camp!

Both Ferrah and Brooklyn mentioned that the camp reinforced their strong work ethic and helped them learn the value of persistence, two important life skills that will serve them into adulthood. Ferrah later shared with KLRU that she learned to plan before creating something new.  Karlee valued the opportunity to work in small groups to collaborate and problem-solve as a team.

In a moment of self-awareness, Ferrah acknowledged her inquisitive nature and her ability to use her imagination to be innovative.  Brooklyn revealed her aptitude for resolving investigations.

The camp revolves around the PBS KIDS character, Ruff Ruffman, and as Ferrah excitedly shared, “he is a great scientist!” Brooklyn points out that he is very knowledgeable. It’s wonderful that these kids now have a role model. Perhaps they will be inspired to follow in his footsteps and become scientists themselves!

As the KLRU Project Director for Ready to Learn, I was present at the camp and was particularly impressed by Ferrah. I asked Lauren Jarvis, the Club Director, to tell me more about her.  Lauren shared that Ferrah “really likes doing new things” and “likes everything science and technology.” Even though she is only 8 years old, Ferrah participates in Google’s CS First, a computer science program designed for 9 to 14 year old children.  Lauren has observed that she completes the lessons and understands the material and the processes being used. Ferrah also participates in Hour of Code alongside her friends, Karlee and Brooklyn. Ferrah is also very creative and artistic. Lauren thinks that “she is very special and has a bright future ahead of her.”  Here at KLRU, we couldn’t agree more! It is our hope to continue to support children like Ferrah to be successful in school and life.

The Ruff Ruffman Sensational Science Camp is part of the Ready to Learn (RTL) initiative funded by the Department of Education and administered by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS.  Our Community Collaborative for Early Learning and Media (CC-ELM) project brings RTL science and literacy content to children ages 2 to 8 from low-income households.  KLRU partners with local community organizations to host camps and workshops at their sites. Our partners are Thinkery, Communities In Schools of Central Texas, and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area.

Please visit the PBS Learning Media Ready to Learn portal to learn more about this initiative and to access resources for families and educators.

FREE PBS Edcamp for Early Childhood Educators

Pre-K and Kindergarten teachers are invited to the first PBS Edcamp for Early Childhood Educators! Join us Saturday, February 17, 2018 from 10am-2pm at the Child Inc. offices for their chance to be on the cutting edge of professional development practices at this “un-conference”.

​PBS and Edcamp are partnering to create an opportunity for early childhood educators in Austin to engage in peer-to-peer learning. PBS  Edcamp will give your EC teachers an opportunity to share and discuss best practices for fostering early childhood development and kindergarten readiness with other early childhood educators.

  • Four professional development hours will be awarded
  • Lakeshore doorprizes and fun swag!
  • Light breakfast and full lunch provided
  • Opportunity to network with other Early Childhood educators

REGISTER online easily to save a spot! Any questions, contact Mary Alice Appleman,
512-475-9051 or maappleman@klru.org.

KLRU and Community Partners host Family Creative Learning workshops

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a robot chef that could make you a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? You would have to program it by giving it very specific instructions.

That is how children and their parents start learning about coding in the Family Creative Learning (FCL) PBS KIDS Scratch Jr. workshops.  The families learn to animate their favorite PBS KIDS characters using the PBS KIDS Scratch Jr. app on Playtime Pads, a tablet that they get to keep at the end of the workshop.

KLRU and our local children’s museum, Thinkery, hosted a fun FCL PBS KIDS Scratch Jr. workshop in October. Nine young children and their parents learned concepts of coding by  reading books and participating in fun movement activities. They built paper airplanes to practice using the design engineering process (imagine, plan, build, test, repeat).

The children and their parents created animation projects together.  Parents learned from their kids as much as the kids learned from their parents. You could see a lot of smiles in the room.

One child was very excited when he shared: “Now my mom knows technology & can do it with me!”

We hope that all families feel just as empowered that they can now create their own animations.

KLRU also partners with Communities In Schools (CIS) to host workshops. This month, 8 families that are part of their ASPIRE family literacy program are currently participating in a Family Creative Learning PBS KIDS Scratch Jr. workshop.  Those families are just as excited and are having a blast learning how to code.

Click here if you would like to use the FCL Scratch Jr. workshop materials to help your own child learn how to code: https://klru.pbslearningmedia.org/collection/pbs-kids-family-creative-learning/

Also, this month 8 additional families are participating in the new Ruff Ruffman Sensational Science Family Creative Learning workshop at Thinkery. The Ruff Ruffman FCL workshop will help children learn science by playing with mixtures, investigating material science, exploring force and motion, and creating structures.

They will also learn about those topics by watching short Ruff Ruffman videos and playing digital games on Playtime Pads (tablets that they will get to keep).

The Ruff Ruffman science activities, videos, and games can be found here:  https://klru.pbslearningmedia.
org/collection/ruff-ruffman-show/

 

FCL workshops are part of the Ready to Learn (RTL) initiative funded by the Department of Education and administered by the Corporation of Public Broadcasting and PBS.  Our Community Collaborative for Early Learning and Media (CC-ELM) project brings RTL science and literacy content to children ages 2 to 8 from low-income households as well as their families and educators.  KLRU partners with local community organizations to host workshops at their sites for the children that they serve.  Our partners are Thinkery, Communities In Schools of Central Texas, and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area.

DOEPBSKIDS_logo

Things get Odd with our Oddtober Halloween Programs

There’s a ton of spooky fun coming to PBS KIDS this October! In addition to the October 23rd premiere of Arthur and the Haunted Tree House on television and streaming devices, there are new Halloween episodes from Odd Squad, Splash and Bubbles, Sesame Street, and Cyberchase. There will also be the return of the hit specials: The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Halloween! and Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest.
KLRU airs Arthur and the Haunted Tree House movie at 6:30 am and 2pm on the 23rd on KLRU; 7 am and 8pm Oct. 23rd on KLRU PBS KIDS 24/7 and KLRU Q.
Word World: A Kooky Spooky Halloween | Sheep’s Halloween Costume — Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 12:30 pm
Ready Jet Go! Jet’s First Halloween — Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 1 pm
Splash and Bubbles: Yuck or Treat — Monday, Oct. 16 at 9:30 am
Odd Squad: Haunt Squad — Monday, Oct. 16 at 3:30 pm
SuperWhy! The Ghost Who Was Afraid of Halloween — Friday, Oct. 20 at 11:30 am
Cyberchase: The Halloween Howl — Friday, Oct. 20 at 8:30 pm
Peg + Cat: The Parade Problem | The Halloween Problem — Friday, Oct. 20 at 12 pm
Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest — Monday, Oct. 23 at 7:30 am
Cyberchase: Watts of Halloween Trouble — Monday, Oct. 23 at 6am
Sesame Street Halloween — Monday, Oct 23 at 10:30 am
Clifford’s Puppy Days: The Halloween Bandit | An Honest Spin — Sunday, Oct. 29 at 9:30 am
Fun Activities!
  • Carve out some time with your little one and create a PBS KIDS jack o’ lantern. We’ve made it easy for you with these pumpkin carving templates.
  • Do you have your Halloween costumes yet? PBS KIDS for Parents has all kinds of DIY costume suggestions including some from your favorite PBS KIDS shows!
  • Arthur and the Haunted Tree House features a sleepover. If your kids are excited about the idea of having a sleepover, but aren’t quite ready, Arthur has a daytime activity you can use to practice before you try the real thing.
  • Grab a flashlight and your favorite monster stories! PBS KIDS for Parents has some monstrously good book suggestions you can use for your very own Halloween sleepover.

This fall, PBS will also offer PreK-12 teachers an easy way to integrate Halloween themes into their instruction with a range of curriculum-aligned videos, lesson plans and games. Teachers can use these resources to enhance homework assignments or kick-start classroom discussions. These free resources are available to teachers nationwide on pbslearningmedia.org. Examples include Peg + Cat’s Tiger Trick or Treat, PBS LearningMedia’s All About the Holidays: Halloween, PBS Digital Studios’ Frankenstein, M.D. and more.

KLRU visits Back To School Fairs

Young boy and yellow school bus

KLRU will be participating in two Back To School Fairs to launch the 2017-2018 school year!

Please look for our booth at the following events for great information to help you and your children have a jump on being school ready. We will have great information on our 24/7 Kids channel, free app information, activity sheets, frisbees and books to distribute.

If you miss these two events, you can catch us at:

Solar Eclipse Resources for Families & Educators

The solar eclipse on August 21st is fast approaching.  You can watch it live on KLRU Q starting at 1:30 pm.
Follow the links to explore ways to engage kids as they learn about the solar eclipse. And by all means, do NOT let them look directly at the eclipse when it occurs without special protection!

In addition to the above resources, NOVA will be airing a special episode called Eclipse Over America on Monday, August 21 at 8:00 pm on 18-1 KLRU. It will air 2 days later on Wednesday, August 23rd at 7:00 pm on 18-1 KLRU.

For younger students, you may want to show the kids the 13 minute Ready Jet Go! Total Eclipse of the Sunspot episode that teaches kids about the solar eclipse and how to create a pinhole box viewer to be able to see the eclipse without hurting their eyes. Airtimes

  • Tuesday, August 15th at 1:00 pm on 18-1 KLRU
  • Tuesday, August 15th at 5:30 pm on 18-4 PBS KIDS
  • Friday, August 18th at 7:00 pm on 18-4 PBS KIDS
  • Saturday, August 19th at 7:00 pm on 18-4 PBS KIDS
  • Sunday, August 20th at 7:00 pm on 18-4 PBS KIDS
  • Thursday, August 31st at 5:30 pm on 18-4 PBS KIDS
  • Monday, September 25th at 1:00 pm on 18-1 KLRU

Here is the Pinhole Eclipse Projector activity sheet from Ready Jet Go:

We hope you’ll be able to guide your students in their discoveries about the solar eclipse!

KLRU Kids Writers – more stories every day!

We are receiving stories in the mail every day and are publishing them as fast as we can! Check every day for the next week to see our collections grow! Click here.

¡Estamos recibiendo nuevos cuentos en el correo cada día y los estamos publicando tan rápido como podamos! Chequea cada día esta semana para ver crecer la colección. Haz clic aquí.