February 16, 2017

WGBH Boston and EDC Develop New Initiatives with NSF Support

BOSTON, MA | Public media leader WGBH Boston, in partnership with EDC, will create new initiatives to help kids ages three to five gain science and computational thinking skills, thanks to funding from the National Science Foundation. This support will help continue WGBH’s commitment to enriching and educating kids and EDC’s mission to improve education, health, and economic opportunity worldwide.


Peep and the Big Wide World image
Credit: WGBH

Bringing Science Home with PEEP will investigate and devise new ways to engage families in science exploration through home visiting programs of AVANCE and HIPPY USA. These programs send educators into families’ homes to give parents the skills and tools they need to foster their children’s science learning. “Educators, economists, and government agencies are putting forth an urgent call to equip young children with science and computational thinking skills,” says Terry Fitzpatrick, WGBH Vice President for Children’s Media and Education. “We’re tremendously grateful to the National Science Foundation for its support of our children’s programs and their recognition that public media can be a strong partner in helping address these needs.”

One initiative centered around Monkeying Around will involve the research and production of animated and live-action videos with parent-child engagement resources designed to increase preschool computational thinking. Another, in collaboration with Kentucky Educational Television, will explore how children in rural and urban preschool classrooms make sense of computational thinking in the context of mathematics instruction. “There is a great deal of national interest in computer science and coding. Computational thinking, such as recognizing patterns and playing with sequences, helps prepare preschool children to do more advanced thinking in later years,” says EDC Vice President Shelley Pasnik, director of the Center for Children and Technology. ”It is never too early to start.”

Bringing Science Home with PEEP will leverage the popularity and success of the NSF-funded, Emmy®-Award winning TV and digital series PEEP and the Big Wide World/El Mundo Divertido de PEEP to engage both parents and preschool children with science. Monkeying Around is WGBH’s newest preschool STEM initiative. Featuring an entertaining cast of monkeys—Maisie, Daisy, Fred, and Bo—Monkeying Around will capitalize on the power of story, appealing characters, and relatable storylines to teach computational thinking to preschoolers through an animated television series, website, apps, and hands-on activities.

About WGBH
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Arthur, Curious George and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH also is a major supplier of programming for public radio, and oversees Public Radio International (PRI). As a leader in educational multimedia for the classroom, WGBH supplies content to PBS LearningMedia, a national broadband service for teachers and students. WGBH also is a pioneer in technologies and services that make media accessible to those with hearing or visual impairments. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors. More info at www.wgbh.org.

About EDC
EDC designs, implements, and evaluates programs to improve education, health, and economic opportunity worldwide. Collaborating with both public and private partners, we strive for a world where all people are empowered to live healthy, productive lives. EDC’s Center for Children and Technology (CCT) investigates the roles technology can play to improve teaching and learning. Its activities range from prototype design of technology applications to professional development for teachers to strategies for ensuring equitable access to technology resources. Visit us at www.edc.org