In February, Idaho Public Television officially launches its fifth broadcast channel — and this one is packed full of educational programs for kids, airing all day and night.
The Idaho PBS KIDS Channel is made possible thanks to our founding sponsors who support around-the-clock educational programming: CapEd Credit Union, Albertsons, IDeal – Idaho College Savings Program, and High Five! powered by Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation.
The new channel will be available for free to viewers who receive IdahoPTV’s over-the-air signal. On Feb. 1, viewers may need to “rescan” their television or digital receiver to add the new channel. Instructions for rescanning can be found here.
In addition to broadcasting over the air, the Idaho PBS KIDS Channel will be carried by many cable TV providers. The channel is already streaming live on the IdahoPTV website, and may be viewed through the PBS KIDS Video app on tablets, smartphones, and streaming devices such as Apple TV and Roku.
The live stream experience offers an integrated games feature, enabling children to toggle between a PBS KIDS show and an activity that extends learning — all in one seamless digital experience. The live stream and games feature is grounded in research demonstrating that measurable gains in learning are achieved when children engage with both video and games. The games align with the learning goals of each TV series.
The lineup of programs on the new channel includes favorites such as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Wild Kratts, Ready Jet Go!, and Splash and Bubbles. It also includes PBS KIDS favorites not currently available on IdahoPTV: Fetch With Ruff Ruffman, Cyberchase, Peep & the Big Wide World, WordWorld and others.
The channel will also be home to the newest PBS KIDS creation, Pinkalicious & Peterrific, when it premieres on Feb. 19. Based on the book series by Victoria Kann, this new series encourages children ages 3-5 to engage in the creative arts and self-expression, covering areas such as music, dance and visual arts.
This new animated series follows the adventures of Pinkalicious and her brother, Peter. Pinkalicious imagines creative possibilities everywhere she looks. She is an artist at heart, and like most creative people, she sees the world differently from others. She knows what she likes, and she’s not afraid to express herself — though she sometimes needs help from her brother, Peter, and her neighborhood friends. Each episode will feature two 11-minute animated stories, a live-action segment, and an original song.
Paula Kerger, president and CEO of the Public Broadcasting Service, announced the launch of the new channel during a visit to Boise in September. Speaking at a luncheon for sponsors of IdahoPTV programming, Kerger said, “At the very core of public broadcasting’s work is an unwavering commitment to education, and that begins with our nation’s youngest learners. Today, PBS KIDS reaches more children ages 2 to 5, more kids in low-income homes, and more moms with young children than any other children’s TV network. For every child we reach, we know there are so many more who could benefit if they had free access to our proven educational content. The Idaho PBS KIDS Channel will benefit all families, especially the nearly 70 percent of children across Idaho who are not enrolled in preschool.”
That figure comes from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2017 Kids Count Data Book, which ranks Idaho last in the nation for the number of toddlers enrolled in preschool — with 69 percent not enrolled, compared with the national average of 53 percent.
Expanding free access to educational PBS KIDS programming is the latest commitment PBS and IdahoPTV have made at the national and state levels to equip parents and teachers with educational resources.
For the 2011-2012 academic year, PBS launched PBS LearningMedia, a digital media platform that delivers classroom-ready, high-quality content tied to curriculum standards, produced by PBS member stations across the country, including IdahoPTV. Read more about PBS LearningMedia here.
In 2016, IdahoPTV created an education specialist position to engage children in communities throughout Idaho. Cindy Lunte, who filled that position, was recently honored with the 2017 Special Services to Libraries award by the Idaho Library Association for her outreach to rural libraries, which includes science experiments, art activities, and creative story time programs featuring PBS KIDS characters.
Later in 2016, an anonymous foundation granted funds to PBS to create the Teacher Community Program, which provides support and resources to rural schoolteachers. Idaho was selected as one of five pilot locations, and in 2017, schoolteacher Kari Wardle joined IdahoPTV as Teacher Ambassador. Wardle works with both educators and students, giving teachers strategies and resources with which to incorporate technology into the classroom, and leading coding camps and technology-based activities for students. Wardle recently spent time during Computer Science Education Week teaching nearly 220 students in Weiser to create interactive stories using the programming language PBS KIDS ScratchJr.