Education

A new program for early childhood learners and their parents has launched in Louisville. The purpose? To get young learners ready for school — and beyond.

Dozens of kids attended the launch of My Big Little Adventure at the Americana Center on Tuesday. The program is an online portal of theme-based learning for children up to age 5 and their caregivers.

The site’s current learning theme is “change.” On the website, caregivers will find a suggested reading list that includes “Where The Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak and “Froodle” by Antoinette Portis. Recommended activities and events appear as well. For example, children can slingshot pumpkins in Bernheim Forest or attend a playdate at the Kentucky Science Center.

“It is so important for children, especially three-, four- and five-year-olds to make a connection to any animal, especially wild animals,” said Louisville Zoo educator Diane Moon, as Georgie the screech owl perched on her white glove.  

Louisville Zoo educator Diane Moon with screech owl GeorgieRoxanne Scott | wfpl.org

Louisville Zoo educator Diane Moon with screech owl Georgie

Georgie, who weighs less than half-a-pound, attends events to help kids learn about animals. Moon said animals can help children learn empathy.

Mike Moll is the director of client and community relations at PNC Bank, which funds the portal.

He said the program is especially designed for families who may not have access to education resources such as books and video content. Organizations such as Bernheim, the Louisville Zoo and the Kentucky Science Center are part of the program.

“That collaborative as it develops will actually take events into the Louisville neighborhoods to try to overcome transportation problems some families face,” said Moll.

According to 2016-2017 data from the Kentucky Department of Education, only 51 percent of students in Jefferson County are kindergarten ready.

Parents and caregivers can find more info about the program here.