PBS SoCal’s Ready To Learn initiative focuses on parents, teachers and community partners to ensure Southern California’s 1.5 million children are prepared for kindergarten, reading on level by 3rd grade, and introduced to STEM concepts at an early age as preparation of the next generation’s workforce. Ready To Learn promotes early learning through age-appropriate, educational and engaging content. It provides digital technologies, educational apps, high-quality content to kids in at-risk communities and trains teachers and parents on using technology to help close the achievement gap. Community Labs are stationed permanently at 11 non-profit organizations and three schools, including:
- Stephen C. Foster School, Compton Unified School District
- Carson Street School, Los Angeles Unified School District
- Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE) Preschools
Additionally, beginning in 2017, Mobile Labs were dispatched to 55 community events, helping deliver educational experiences to nearly 19,095 parents and children throughout Southern California.
A personal impact
Content like PBS KIDS Odd Squad and Peg + Cat truly has the power to bring families and communities together. Through work on the ground in the many underserved communities in Los Angeles, families are engaged, with direct impact on children’s lives and their learning experience.
Dilcia Benegas is a mother of one such family impacted by PBS KIDS. Dilcia lives in a low-income neighborhood in Central LA. She had never used PBS KIDS content until she attended one of the Ready To Learn workshops in the fall of 2016. During the program, she learned how to use Peg + Cat games and hands-on activities, like the Tree Problem app and Puppet Theater.
A couple of months later, Dilcia attended a PBS KIDS community event. She told on-site staff about how she noticed a huge improvement in her son’s learning since she had attended the Ready to Learn workshop. She was astounded at how the Peg + Cat content helped her son not only with math skills but also with language development. In fact, she was so inspired by this experience, that she signed up for the PBS KIDS 5-week Parent Academy, a program that uses content like Peg + Cat and Odd Squad to help parents create a STEM mindset at home. Dilcia graduated from the Parent Academy in May 2017 – more engaged and empowered in her role as a parent than ever before.
From working with kids and parents like Dilcia, early childhood learning advocates have demonstrated how great content and innovative digital delivery systems can play a key role in supporting families in children’s development. PBS Kids provides much needed access to educational services otherwise limited in underserved communities.