This summer our education outreach team — with an assist from PBS Kids — has been busy bringing creativity and learning to students throughout Idaho.
Our teacher ambassador, Kari Wardle, has been leading PBS Kids ScratchJr coding camps for teachers and summer school students. ScratchJr is a coding app designed for children in grades K-3. Wardle’s camps allow kids (and teachers) to take on the roles of programmer, editor, and background, sound and character designers — creating stories and games using their favorite PBS Kids characters.
Meanwhile, our education specialist, Cindy Lunte, has been traveling the state leading STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities for children at public libraries. Kids build and race wooden spool racers and run Slinkys down towers built of empty boxes, among other hands-on activities.
Lunte has also given away 75 PBS Kids Playtime Pads to public libraries around the state. The devices are loaded with PBS Kids educational content including ScratchJr, educational games, and PBS Kids video clips.
April Blankenship, branch manager at Kamiah Community Library, says of their new Playtime Pads: “The kids who have used them here really love them, including asking for them specifically when they come in. We appreciate not only your items but also your time and enthusiasm!”
Linda Henderson, children’s librarian at Buhl Public Library, says children in her community love playing on the tablets. The library has added a barcode to each tablet (and available headphones) so kids can check them out for in-library use. “This has worked well for us since we don’t let them go outside of the building,” Henderson says. “People put their children on them while they are on computers or engaging in other library activities. Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity!”