Kids’ Media & Education

The chosen 14 Digital Innovators employed a “teaching bold” approach; created joyful learning environments; and were committed to making education more equitable.

One of the top priorities for The WNET Group as the world entered the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic was kids’ education and their hybrid at-home/in-person schooling.

The 130 new episodes of Let’s Learn hit the airwaves and were distributed to public television stations nationwide. Over the summer, Broadway performer Zachary Noah Piser inspired “campers” for a second year as Camp TV head counselor.

A host of webinars and Zoom workshops with families, educators, and caregivers kept The WNET Group connected to the community virtually. Seventeen Stay and Play with THIRTEEN workshops in English and Spanish provided quick and fun games, crafts and stories for more than 4,500 families with young children. A partnership with Cardinal McCloskey Community Services brought bilingual, virtual training to early childcare providers and families in Harlem. The WNET Group invested in local tri-state educators by launching The WNET PBS Digital Innovators Program to encourage ongoing professional development and growth. For the first time, The WNET Group’s annual Youth Collective Summit went virtual with three sessions focused on youth ethics, values, and what motivates Gen Z into action.

Students step into the role of Henry Takana in Mission US: Prisoner in My Homeland.

Speaking to kids about complex societal issues is difficult. The digital-first documentary A Trusted Space: From Grief to Growth offered guidance to mitigate the effects of grief, trauma, anxiety and other emotional stressors brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The WNET Group also hosted a webinar on how to address the rise in anti-Asian violence with students. It delivered strategies and encouraged civil discourse and critical thinking about anti-Asian racism. Mission US brought further context to the plight of Asian Americans with the launch of its sixth role-playing game Prisoner in My Homeland. Students stepped into the shoes of Henry Tanaka, a 16-year-old Japanese American forced into a California internment camp during World War II. The game was shared with 3,000 teachers at the first virtual National Council for the Social Studies conference Advancing Social Justice.

Accessibility is fundamental to reaching children of all abilities and learning levels. “Born-accessible” game Cyberchase: Echo Explorers allowed children with a variety of physical, cognitive and social-emotional needs to practice math skills and learn about bats and echolocation.

The team was also busy producing a new season of Films BYkids, which dealt with historical trauma, antisemitism, disability and globalization through the lens of diverse teenage filmmakers. Creative talent didn’t go overlooked: a second season of Rising Artist (in partnership with ALL ARTS) spotlit textile artists, a ballerina and a marimba player who are all enrolled in New York City universities.

To learn more about Kids’ Media & Education’s robust offerings, visit their website.

17-year-old Daunnette Moniz-Reyome shared her family’s journey to retain sacred rituals and culture traditions on the Umoⁿhoⁿ Reservation in Nebraska in Films BYkids: Against the Current.