Happy National Summer Learning Day!

National Summer Learning Day highlights the importance of keeping kids learning during the summer so that they can return to school in the fall ready to succeed in the year!

This year, our partner Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area teamed up with KLRU to offer an exciting day of learning with PBS KIDS resources.

Kids were shown an episode of a PBS KIDS show called Design Squad in which two groups of teens compete against each other to build the best zip line thrill ride using the materials and tools provided.  The Walnut Creek club members were so excited to find out that they themselves had to complete a similar hands-on challenge. They were given rope, ping pong balls, marbles, rubber bands, construction paper, pipe cleaners, and masking tape.  They were instructed to work in small groups to plan the design of a carrier for the ping pong ball that would carry it safely from one end of a zip line to the other.
As soon as they were given the go ahead, you could hear the kids excitedly sharing their ideas and vision with each other, asking each other questions, problem solving together, and drawing out a plan.  Working together has its challenges and this was no exception, you could hear groups having to deal with conflicting ideas and compromising to reach a unified solution. Once they had solidified their plan, they began building collaboratively and testing out the design. You could hear groans when it didn’t work and the teams had to modify their designs and try again. You could hear another team cheering at the other side of the room when they had a breakthrough and it actually worked. You could feel the energy, see tons of smiles and hear the laughter coming from all sides of the room. It was pretty obvious that the kids were having fun while learning.

After completing the challenge, the kids gathered for a read-out-loud of the book, Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beaty.  The book encourages kids to persevere. On their way out, the kids were given a PBS summer activity booklet and a frisbee with the Klru.org/stem link printed on it. As they were exiting, I asked a little girl what she had learned. She said, “not to give up and if I keep trying, I’ll learn new things along the way and I will get better.”

Rather than keeping the fun limited to one day, BGCAA STEM director, Erica Egan, turned it up a notch by making it a week of fun. On Monday, 15 elementary-aged kids from the Bastrop Boys & Girls Clubs participated. On Wednesday, fifteen 1st and 2nd graders from Walnut Creek site joined in the fun. Tomorrow, Friday, the EAST site club members will get their turn to play while learning.  #KeepKidsLearning.

 

KLRU collaborates with other non-profits to implement early learning programs

KLRU has chosen three Austin-based partners to implement early-learning programs to support low-income families. KLRU will work with The Thinkery, Communities in Schools, and Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Texas 
to develop and distribute science and literacy content funded with a Ready-to-Learn Grant from CPB, PBS and from the U.S. Department of Education.

“KLRU is excited to collaborate with these three Austin-based organizations as part of the multi-year CPB and PBS’ Ready To Learn-funded project,” said Bill Stotesbery, KLRU CEO and General Manager. “Each organization knows that KLRU has the ability to provide quality, trusted, educational resources, and we believe we will be helping to extend their work, by serving more at-risk people in our area using high-quality early learning content and services to set them on the path for a successful future.”

The national grant will provide resources to 11 PBS stations, including KLRU, to implement local partnerships in underserved communities. The grant will allow stations to establish community-based networks of strategic local and national partnerships devoted to early learning, focused on disadvantaged children and families. Other communities participating include: Boston, MA (WGBH); Cleveland, OH (WVIZ/PBS ideastream); Cookeville, TN (WCTE); Detroit, MI (Detroit Public Television); Jackson, MS (Mississippi Public Broadcasting); Lexington, KY (Kentucky Educational Television); Los Angeles, CA (PBS SoCaL); Pittsburgh, PA (WQED); Tacoma, WA (KBTC); and Tallahassee, FL (WFSU). Station partnerships will include schools, public libraries, science centers, health clinics and housing agencies that serve high-need populations.

In their recent “Kids Count” survey, the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that 54% of America’s 3 and 4-year-olds do not have the opportunity to attend preschool. Through the grant-funded project, CPB and PBS will build on decades of success in developing and distributing content and resources that have been proven to meet the critical school readiness needs of America’s children. Nielsen confirms that PBS stations reach more children ages 2-8 and more children in low-income homes than any other children’s TV network, which makes PBS local stations powerful partners in ensuring access to educational resources.

CPB and PBS will build on previously funded work that research has proven to help narrow the achievement gap for children ages 2-8. Third-party studies of content developed through the previous grants show that children exposed to PBS KIDS resources – including Ready To Learn-funded series PEG + CAT and ODD SQUAD – improve in math skills such as counting, recognizing shapes, predicting patterns and problem-solving. Research also shows that usage of this content across media platforms significantly supports children’s early math learning, while increasing family engagement and enhancing educator effectiveness.

About KLRU-TV, Austin PBS
KLRU-TV, Austin PBS is dedicated to telling stories that entertain, inspire and change our lives. KLRU highlights what makes Austin unique—whether music, arts or public issues — by creating and distributing award-winning original content. KLRU produces several series including Austin City Limits, Arts in Context, Central Texas Gardener, Civic Summit and Overheard with Evan Smith. As a nonprofit educational organization, KLRU also prepares children to succeed in school and creates lifelong learning opportunities for all. Find out more at KLRU.org.

About the Corporation for Public Broadcasting 
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of nearly 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services. For more information, visit www.cpb.org and follow us on Twitter @CPBmedia, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

About PBS
PBS, with its over 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 100 million people through television and over 28 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its website, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.

About The Ready To Learn Initiative
The Ready To Learn Initiative is a cooperative agreement funded and managed by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement. It supports the development of innovative educational television and digital media targeted to preschool and early elementary school children and their families. Its general goal is to promote early learning and school readiness, with a particular interest in reaching low-income children. In addition to creating television and other media products, the program supports activities intended to promote national distribution of the programming, effective educational uses of the programming, community-based outreach and research on educational effectiveness.

KLRU’s Family Creative Learning Workshop Pilot

We held our first of four sessions Wednesday night (8/31) at one of our partner sites, The Thinkery Children’s Museum (thinkeryaustin.org). We had a beautiful classroom space to work in that allowed for a large table for group work, a smaller table for kids to decorate their Maker Hats, and an area on the floor with bean bags and LEGO for kids who needed a break.

The real magic came when we turned the iPads over to the parents (while kids decorated) and gave them a brief overview of how PBS Kids Scratch Jr. works. Their discoveries were palpable as they learned how to add and animate characters. And when the kids joined them, and they began to create together, there were moments where every pair were deeply engaged together, with big smiles on their faces. Comments included: “I never get 1-1 time with my child so this is really special.” “The father is normally the ‘fun parent’ but tonight I got to be ‘Fun Mom!'”

All the parents were excited to leave with a book to read with their child, information on how to download PBS Kids Scratch Jr. for their own devices and getting together again for the next session!