PBS KIDS Family Creative Learning: A New Model for Engaging Families

Last Updated by Aaron Morris on

PBS KIDS Family Creative Learning is a new model for engaging families with children ages 3-8, in collaborative, interest-driven, playful learning experiences that integrate PBS KIDS media and technology, and are designed to support children’s science and literacy learning as well as grown-ups' ability to support their children’s learning. The model, inspired by one developed by Ricarose Roque, is currently being developed, piloted, and refined as part of the 2015-2020 Ready To Learn grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant is predominantly focused on the development of media content that supports science and literacy learning among children, especially those from low-income families. A large part of that effort is an emphasis on supporting the learning ecosystem of the child; the parents, family, educators, and other community members that play an active role in the development and growth of young children.

Research has proven that PBS KIDS content, on its own, can support learning. It has also been proven that when a child engages with PBS KIDS content alongside a grown-up, that those learning gains increase. That said, parents, educators, and other grown-ups still feel a lot of uncertainty around what media choices to make for their children, and how they can support their children’s engagement with that media. The PBS KIDS Family Creative Learning (FCL) model is an effort to create the time and space for families to come together with the support of local PBS stations and their partners to practice and develop habits and practices for joint media engagement and collaborative hands-on play that we know are effective ways of supporting learning and development.

A single FCL series is made up of four sessions and is focused around a PBS KIDS property or piece of content. Over the course of four weeks, families come together in a community-based setting (library, school cafeteria, apartment complex community room, etc.) for two hours at a time. The families eat a meal together, explore a topic or theme and media content associated with that theme, make or investigate that theme more deeply through a hands-on project-based experience, and then share their experiences with the other families and community members at the session. Over the course of the grant, PBS KIDS will develop six FCL series focused on the following content:

As partners in the development process, 16 education and outreach teams at PBS stations across the country are playing an active role as creators, implementers, and key feedback partners as we develop, test, iterate, and refine the model and the specific series being created. Those 16 stations include:

  1. KBTC
  2. PBS SoCal (KOCE)
  3. Vegas PBS
  4. OETA
  5. KLRU
  6. MPB
  7. WFSU
  8. WCTE
  9. KET
  10. Nine Network (KETC)
  11. IPTV
  12. DPTV
  13. WFYI
  14. ideastream (WVIZ)
  15. WQED
  16. WGBH

Currently, the PBS KIDS ScratchJr FCL series is publicly available and can be utilized by anyone. All the materials and resources needed to implement that series can be found on  PBS LearningMedia. The Ruff Ruffman series is currently being piloted and will be available to the public in 2018. The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! and Play and Learn app series are both in active development and will be available to the public in late 2018.



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