As the nation prepares for the beginning of a new school year unlike any other, PBS and member stations are helping support educators, parents and caregivers with a variety of free high-quality, accessible educational media resources.
Available to more than 97% of the country through over-the-air television access, the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel (for young learners ages 2-8) and the WORLD channel At-Home Learning Service (for learners grades 6-12) will feature broadcast programming linked to at-home learning resources that can be used by educators to supplement distance learning plans, or by parents to provide added enrichment and support for children’s educational needs.
Research shows that more than 24 million Americans still lack access to fast and reliable broadband internet. PBS has the ability to reach a majority of these households with free, over-the-air station broadcast and a deep trove of digital resources (PBS LearningMedia, pbskids.org, PBS KIDS for Parents, and more) designed to support both in-school and at-home learning for students, which was critical at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
When COVID-19 shut down schools across much of the country, PBS LearningMedia, an online destination that offers free access to thousands of classroom resources, saw its users quadruple to nearly 4 million per month. Additionally, young children’s engagement with PBS KIDS content increased notably, with reach growing by 15% among kids 2-8 on-air, streaming by nearly 30% and game play by 40%.
Leading these charges locally, PBS stations across the country forged partnerships with their school districts to address specific, state standards-aligned educational needs in each community, including filming and broadcasting local teachers’ classroom lessons.
“We recognize that back to school this year is particularly stressful for many educators and families, especially those who lack access to reliable high-speed Internet and the dedicated devices often required for distance learning,” said Lesli Rotenberg, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, Children’s Media and Education, PBS.
“Building on 50 years of public service, PBS and our member stations are prepared to ensure equitable access to free and trusted resources in a variety of formats to help meet the needs of students, parents and teachers wherever they are this school year.”