Gifts with Wings & Other Helpful Hints for Supporting Children Through the Winter Holidays

“The greatest gift you ever give is your honest self . . . Whatever you really love to do . . . love that in front of children.  That’s going to be a far more important gift than anything you could ever give them wrapped up in a box with ribbons. . . The last thing . . .  you have to be is perfect at it.  It’s the spirit that gives that kind of gift its wings.”   Fred Rogers

As at Thanksgiving, we think Fred Rogers can help support students, teachers, and parents over the winter holiday season. Continue reading

Thomas & Friends For the Holidays and Year Round, Including Resources for the ASD Classroom

PBS KIDS has discovered that among Thomas & Friends many fans, children on the autistic spectrum love this program from Great Britain, which had its first broadcast in 1984.  (We’ve posted how an autistic child in our region has been helped by Thomas resources in school. Just search Thomas & Friends here on our homepage.)

Over this holiday season, WGBY is airing seasonal episodes of Thomas & Friends, including these 5 new ones beginning on December 12.   In addition to Thomas & Friends classroom resources from Thomas episodes, you’ll find a wide range of tips and activities for incorporating Thomas into an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) classroom at Continue reading

PBS KIDS Halloween Programming & Teaching Resources

As you can see in this video clip, kids are in for delightfully spooky treats this Halloween season.  WGBY will premiere Halloween-themed movies and episodes and broadcast encore programming.  There will also be plenty of free PBS KIDS apps and hands-on activities, including pumpkin-carving templates with favorite PBS KIDS characters.

This fall, PBS will also offer PreK-12 teachers an easy way to integrate Halloween themes into their instruction with a range of curriculum-aligned videos, lesson plans and games. Continue reading

Arthur Visits Springfield’s LittleFest to Celebrate Literacy

This Saturday, September 24, from 10:00am to 4:00pm, you can bring family and friends to the Springfield Museums at the Quadrangle for LittleFest, Springfield’s annual celebration of literacy.  Arts & crafts activities, storytelling and much more await, and admission is free for WGBY members, museum members, and Springfield residents.

WGBY will be there with free books for children and special appearances by PBS KIDS’ Arthur.  The longest-running PBS KIDS program, Arthur — produced by Boston’s WGBH — offers a wealth of 21st Century resources for children, families and teachers.  Continue reading

Sesame Street’s Everyday Heroes Club

“Watch out for each other. Love everyone and forgive everyone, including yourself. Forgive your anger. Forgive your guilt. Your shame. Your sadness. Embrace and open up your love, your joy, your truth, and most especially your heart.”  Jim Henson

With words like these from Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets and developer of Sesame Street characters, it’s hardly surprising that Sesame Street’s new Everyday Heroes Club promotes acts of kindness.

You can learn more and find resources  Continue reading

Free Reading Party Kits for Families

To support family’s efforts to keep kids reading throughout the summer, WGBY is offering free reading party kits for families to host “I Can Readathon!” at-home events.  These kits — made available through participating retailers and a partnership with PBS KIDS and HarperCollins — include activity booklet, reading logs, activity pages, stickers, certificates, a PBS KIDS Super Summer activity chart, activity sheets and more.

Due to limited supplies, kits will given on a first-come, first-served basis.  For more information Continue reading

Walking in Nature & Changing our Brains

Is being outdoors part of your summer plan?  Many of us already know that a walk in the park or the woods can calm our minds.  Now, an article in the NY Times blog “Well,” How Walking in Nature Changes The Brain,” shares a recent study about nature’s effects on our brains and mental health.  The article’s intriguing look at nature and the brain, including differences in anxiety, depression and other mental illness for those living in and out of urban centers, just might motivate you to spend more time in nature’s green spaces.

PBS has long championed nature and the environment with programs and resources such as  Continue reading

PreK-12 Summer Resources to Share with Parents

While hardly news to educators, the HuffPost recently reported on a survey from the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) confirming that teachers spend a great deal of time reteaching content because of summer learning losses.  Until students attend school throughout the year, resources like This Egg in a Bottle Experiment from Maya, full-time kid from PBS Parents, is one of many summer resources to try and help stem learning loss:

To keep kids learning over the summer, Alabama Public Television (APT) has found PreK-12 resources — for mathematics, reading, science, digital citizenship and more — that you can share with parents.

Continue reading

PEEP and The Big Wide Bilingual World — Tested & Approved

PEEP AND THE BIG WIDE WORLD is no longer so new, but it is just as endearing and effective as ever.  More than just an offbeat cartoon, it’s a broadcast and digital universe that teaches science and math to young kids — and it’s fully bilingual.  Parents can click the big “Espanol” icon in the corner of any page to expose their kids to these lovable characters talking about STEM concepts in Spanish. ¡Excelente!

A recent summative assessment with 400 families found that English and Spanish speaking children who used PEEP resources were significantly more likely to improve their knowledge of math and science content, increase their interest in Continue reading

413families Text Campaign — Sign Up & Win Gift Basket from Springfield City Library

Please help us spread the word to Springfield families — Those who opt into the 413families text campaign receive twice-weekly messages about cool family activities and events, early literacy tips, school messages, and health, fitness & attendance information.  As an incentive for families to join the growing number who are part of the campaign, the Springfield City Library has put together a great, book-filled gift basket, and one lucky person who joins by Friday, April 29, will be selected to win!

All someone has to do is Continue reading