Friday, March 15th, 2013
Parents have been found to emphasize educational math activities at home far less than other academic pursuits like reading and paying attention, the result of which is American children lagging behind in math skills. A new study from PBS KIDS found that many parents do not know that research places math skills at kindergarten age as a greater predictor of academic achievement later in life than reading or other skills.
PBS’s “It All Adds Up” study was conducted in partnership with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and presented at the SXSWedu conference in Austin, Texas. Some of the major findings:
- Nearly 30% of parents reported anxiety about teaching their child math. Anxiety is even greater for moms (33%) and parents with an education level of high school or less (32%).
- 60% percent of parents of 5-8-year-olds practice math daily with their kids, whereas only half of parents of 2-4-year-olds do; Parents are also more likely to practice reading skills with their kids than they are to practice math.
- Parents place less emphasis on math, since they view other skills as “the greatest predictor of achievement later in life,” ranking reading and literacy (26%) and the ability to pay attention and work hard (47%) as most indicative versus math (14%).
Encouragingly, the survey found that 84 percent of parents believe it is important to support their child’s learning with home-based activities, and PBS KIDS is developing mobile apps and other resources for parents to use to bring more math into their home learning.
“The early years of life are most critical for learning both literacy and math; in fact, many children do not realize their full potential in mathematics because they are not getting consistent support from a young age,” said Lesli Rotenberg, General Manager, Children’s Programming, PBS, in a statement. “The good news is that there are simple things parents can do to support early math learning that can all add up to make a big difference. We know that parents trust PBS KIDS and look to us for ways to support their kids’ learning, and we are excited to offer parents and caregivers free resources they can use on their mobile phones or computers, and offline activity ideas that make anytime a learning time.”
Image: Child doing math, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, October 30th, 2012
The beloved children’s character Elmo–a Sesame Street Muppet–went on the radio in New York City this morning to talk directly to children who were feeling unsettled and frightened in the wake of the superstorm Sandy, which had particularly damaging effects on the city and surrounding areas. From NBC News.com (the Elmo segment is linked to from the NBC page):
On Tuesday morning, “Sesame Street’s” Elmo visited Brian Lehrer’s WNYC’s radio show and spoke directly to his young audience. And as it turns out, the Muppet is a hurricane pro, having been through a scary storm on “Sesame Street” in the past.
Well, the wind started blowing really bad, and we had to put tape on windows and stuff,” he explained of the episode. He even had to help his pal Big Bird put his nest back together after the storm destroyed it.
Joining Elmo and host Lehrer was Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, the vice president of education and research for Sesame Workshop. She explained that the episode was created long before Sandy or even Hurricane Katrina. It was meant to help parents if their kids should ever face a similar storm.
“‘Sesame Street’ is based on a whole child curriculum, and so we focus not only on the cognitive skills, but social and emotional skills of children,” Truglio said. “We wanted to have a community show like this where we could model for parents tips — so that we could model how you prepare for a storm and how you get through the storm with activities … and keeping your child calm and safe.”
As for Elmo, he took a question from a fan who wanted to know if he was scared on Monday night, as Hurricane Sandy hit his hometown.
“Yeah, but Elmo was with his mommy and daddy, so Elmo asked a lot of questions and learned a lot about what was happening,” he assured.
Image: Elmo, via PBS.org
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Friday, March 2nd, 2012
Theodore Geisel, the children’s book author famously known as “Dr. Seuss,” would have celebrated his 108th birthday today, March 2. In honor of this special occasion, readers across the country are pausing to remember the imaginative genius, and to enjoy his work with their families and friends.
PBS Kids network is airing a “The Cat in the Hat-A-Thon” today, featuring new episodes of the show “The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That!”
And Random House and the National Education Association (NEA) are sponsoring “Read Across America” for the second year, an event designed to encourage adults to read to a child on Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Schools, libraries and other organizations will be hosting celebrity readers to mark the occasion, including a reading by Zac Efron and Danny DeVito, who star in the new film adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ environmental classic “The Lorax.”
Image: Danny DeVito in the new film The Lorax, via Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com
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