Research has shown that quality early learning programs are critical for young children’s well-being, boosting school readiness and long-term success. Unfortunately, of California’s 3 million children under age 5, 1.3 million children – nearly half – live in or near poverty and only 33% have access to quality early learning programs and resources. This lack of access has only widened the achievement gap for our state’s youngest and most vulnerable learners. As your local public media station, we are committed to working together with families, schools, and community organizations to help bridge the achievement gap and ensure all children start kindergarten ready to learn.
We recognize family engagement is one of the most powerful predictors of children’s school success and aim to equip families, including parents and caregivers, with strategies, tools, and resources to support their children’s learning in both at-home and out-of-school settings. We have developed and implemented a family engagement model across Southern California, which consists of three types of family workshops. These family workshops are designed from a strengths-based lens, and approach families as equal and reciprocal partners in their children’s learning. Read more about our family engagement services below.
PBS SoCal Family Engagement Services
1. Introductory Family Workshops
Introductory Workshops are often a caregiver’s first touchpoint with PBS SoCal’s services, aside from watching PBS KIDS shows with their children. The workshops provide families with access to free educational resources to immediately engage in at-home learning around literacy and STEM concepts. Each caregiver receives a curated backpack that reiterates lessons learned during the workshop using a thematic book, at-home activities, and links to PBS KIDS digital resources. As the first and most important teachers of their children, families are encouraged to model the activity showcased during the workshop at home. The workshops are conducted in English and Spanish and are about 60 minutes long.
2. STEM Parent Academy
The STEM Parent Academy is designed to engage families with children ages 2-8 in science and math learning at home. Each week, participating parents and caregivers build on their families’ lived experience and knowledge to help their children develop STEM competency skills using technology, hands-on activities, and PBS KIDS media, including online games and video content. The curriculum can be used in its current form, or it can be adapted for use by other community organizations. The STEM Parent Academy consists of five weekly sessions in English or Spanish, each 90 minutes to 2 hours long.
3. Family and Community Learning Workshop
A series of workshops that engage families in hands-on collaborative and playful learning. Designed for families with children ages 5-8 (and younger/older siblings), the series uses both digital and tangible tools to support the development of science inquiry and engineering design practices as families observe, question, predict, investigate, build, share, and reflect with one another. The series aims to support and foster positive attitudes and perceptions about what science is and the ability for families to engage in and support one another’s learning. The Family and Community Learning workshops are available in English and Spanish and bring caregivers and children together once a week for four weeks. Each workshop is 90 minutes
Family Math is a PBS SoCal initiative offering insights, tools, and support so parents and caregivers can confidently, joyfully and authentically explore math with children ages 2 to 5. Utilizing a human-centered design approach, PBS SoCal sought to understand and address the needs of parents and communities to inform the development of a hands-on Family Math curriculum and family engagement model, which consists of a series of Family Math Introductory Workshops, Parent Academies, and Family and Community Learning Workshops centered on early math concepts. By offering lots of opportunities and entry points, accessible both in English and in Spanish, we hope that families can find the support they need to share math experiences with young children, wherever, whenever and however the opportunity presents itself. Learn more about the Family Math program.
Currently, all of these services are offered virtually through webinars or virtual outreach. For more information, please contact the PBS SoCal education team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online Resources for Families
At-Home Learning offers broadcast programming and accompanying digital resources that adhere to California’s state curriculum.
PBS KIDS offers engaging and interactive content for young children, including educational games, streaming videos, and activities from Curious George, Wild Kratts and other PBS KIDS shows.
PBS KIDS Ready to Learn provides free family resources, including hands-on-activities, apps, and videos that families can use with their children to support literacy development and explore science in their everyday lives.
Bright by Text sends text messages with free activities and resources from PBS Socal and other trusted sources to parents and caregivers with children ages 0-8 years old.
PBS for PARENTS offers information, activities, and tips on child development and early learning for parents and caregivers.
PBS KIDS App allows you to watch all your favorite PBS KIDS shows anytime, anywhere.
Visit our At-Home Learning page to find the latest articles with tips for parents or view our collection of Spanish-language education articles.
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