The 27 kindergarten students at Maple Elementary School in Avon squealed with delight and wiggled up onto their knees to get a closer look at the new Kindle Fire tablets being donated to their class through WFYI Public Media in celebration of their 100th day of school on Jan. 24.
“Wow!” said one little boy, his eyes wide with surprise, spurring a flurry of “oohs and aahs” among the children.
“You will all get to use these,” said Gail Thomas Strong, vice president, WFYI Community Engagement. “These are for your classroom to keep.”
The children erupted in cheers.
WFYI received the digital tools from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting through funds granted by the U.S. Department of Education expressly for the purpose of providing them to a local classroom.
Comprised of three Kindle Fire tablet devices and three PBS KIDS floor mats, the media labs will allow the kindergarten students greater access to online educational media to bolster what they are already learning in the classroom. The donation is an extension of WFYI’s commitment to early childhood education.
“We at WFYI know that a successful start in kindergarten puts a student on a successful path to graduation,” said Thomas Strong. “Plus, it’s critical that all children have access to the technology that surrounds them.”
Teacher Janet Craig says the Kindles will give each child individual time on a regular basis to explore technology. “We have only five computers for 27 kids, and they use those quite a bit,” Craig said. “This donation gives them another important tool to help them learn how technology works. I am so excited about this!”
Through WFYI’s partnership with United Way, the Avon class was selected to receive the media labs because of Craig’s creative classroom and her willingness to embrace technology as a tool for teaching.
As part of the 100th day celebration, each student had a brief introduction to the digital tablets and were able to explore PBS KIDS’ new math product, Peg + Cat, a multi-platform resource with a top-rated curriculum designed for children ages 3-6. Pet + Cat is one of hundreds of online instructional resources through pbskids.org to boost learning in kids of all ages.
“PBS KIDS is a safe haven online that can extend and deepen a child’s learning beyond PBS television programming,” said Thomas Strong. ”All the online tools at pbskids.org have been rigorously tested and evaluated as good media, resulting in higher educational gains for children.”
To learn more about online educational resources for children, go to pbskids.org.