A group of children sit in front of the television at Louisville Central Community Center’s Mini-Versity Child Development Center.
“What colors can you make?” the television asks.
Early childhood educators use the program as a prompt. The children then mix colored liquid into bags that contain plain dough-like material that will soon become yellow. Then green, when they drop in blue liquid.
The video is part of KET’s new Everyday Learning Collaborative and the one of several new resources that will soon be available to hundreds more early childhood educators with the potential to reach tens of thousands more children across Kentucky, officials say.
Research says communities need access to quality early childhood care. But in Kentucky only a quarter of children are ready for kindergarten when they first enter the public education system. In Jefferson County it’s around a third.
Kentucky also recently made cuts to childcare subsidies despite state leaders saying more attention needs to be paid to the early years. That has meant 19 percent fewer Jefferson County kids having access to much needed financial support.
Now, the Everyday Learning Collaborative is receiving more than $1.14 million in grants from the James Graham Brown Foundation and the PNC Foundation and KET is also partnering with the National Center for Families Learning and Metro United Way, which will help administer and distribute resources.
“It’s all very simple activities, inexpensive activities typically. Most of the activities are done with items a school might have or can easily obtain,” says Shae Hopkins, KET executive director.
The initiative is an extension of a similar KET program called Everyday Science for Preschoolers which debuted in 2010. Now KET will extend those lessons beyond science to include math, health, arts and social skills.
Materials will include videos, interactive technology and other classroom activities, officials say.
“We believe that television is a wonderful thing, but it’s just a small part. And what we really want is children to read a good book and then do something,” says Nancy Carpenter, KET’s senior director of education.
KET created the initiative by pulling together a group of early childhood educators to help develop the lesson plans for science, then for other subjects. Much of the grant funding will be used for professional development of educators and parents in various low-income areas of Kentucky and Jefferson County.