Families
4:55 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

PBS Kids Math Learning Tools -- It All Adds Up!

“It All Adds Up,” is an effort to help WKAR-area families build kids’ math skills. Through this effort, WKAR aims to boost math learning at home – and everywhere – by providing PBS KIDS resources for parents.

“It All Adds Up” is an awareness effort designed to expand the impact of Ready To Learn, a cooperative initiative between CPB and PBS, with funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement, to support the development of early math and literacy skills in children ages 2-8 from low-income families.

Survey Results

STEM skills are emphasized on "The Cat in the Hat"
STEM skills are emphasized on "The Cat in the Hat"

Research shows that math skills at kindergarten entry can be an even stronger predictor of school achievement than reading skills, but many children do not realize their full potential in mathematics. While many factors contribute to lagging math skills, a recent survey released by PBS KIDS suggests 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%). The national survey of parents with children ages 2-12 also indicated that parents are less likely to support their kids’ math skills from the earliest ages, and that many parents have anxiety about supporting math learning at home.

Through “It All Adds Up,” WKAR is providing educational resources to help build mid-Michigan area kids’ math skills. This emphasis is especially important given that the U.S.’s ranking of 25 among 34 countries in children’s math achievement has prompted national concern. President Obama emphasized the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills in his recent State of Union address, citing their importance in preparing this generation for a high-tech economy. 

A Missing Opportunity

Parents may be missing an opportunity to start early in building their kids’ math skills. Parents with older children are more likely to practice math skills daily with their kids than parents of younger children. Sixty percent of parents of 5-8-year-olds practice math daily with their kids, whereas only half of parents of

Cyberchase focuses on math skills.
Cyberchase focuses on math skills.

2-4-year-olds do.

Parents are also more likely to practice reading skills with their kids than they are to practice math. This may be in part due to parents’ lower comfort levels with teaching math. Nearly 30 percent of parents reported anxiety about teaching their children math, and that anxiety is even greater for moms (33%) and parents with an education level of high school or less (32%).

"It's Vital We Start"

“Research shows that it’s vital that we start building children’s math skills from a young age to help them succeed in school and in life,” said Beany Tomber, WKAR's Ready To Learn coordinator and Educational Services director. “Through ‘It All Adds Up,” WKAR is proud to offer resources to help families support early math learning for the kids in our community.”

More than 100 Games and Apps

“It All Adds Up” builds on the collection of more than 100 games and apps that PBS KIDS and CPB have launched over the past two years through Ready To Learn to help build math and literacy skills. The effort also introduces multiplatform tools, including the new PBS Parents Play & Learn App and a new team of [LOCAL] experts called Math Mentors, to help parents increase their own confidence with math and nurture their children’s love for math from an early age.

All of these resources are accessible on PBS KIDS Lab [or local website URL], a site that aggregates games, apps and offline activities to help support math and reading learning for kids 2-8. The site also offers several gaming suites, each of which links a set of games across platforms – accessible through computers, mobile devices and interactive whiteboards – so that kids can engage with the same characters as they move from device to device. The content is also linked by curricular frameworks, leveraging games on a variety of platforms to support key math and reading skills.

PBS Parents Play & Learn App

PBS KIDS’ first app designed specifically for parents, PBS Parents Play & Learn provides more than a dozen math and literacy-based games parents can play with their kids, each themed around a familiar location, including the grocery store or restaurant or, at home, in the bath or in the kitchen. The bilingual (English/Spanish) app helps build math skills, including counting, measurement and estimation, and literacy skills, such as letter identification, rhyming and vocabulary. The app is especially useful for introducing the youngest of learners to reading and math concepts with games and activities that are leveled by stages: baby, toddler and preschool.

The PBS Parents Play & Learn App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and for Android phones and tablets, including both the Kindle Fire HD 7 and Kindle Fire HD 8.9. For more details, visit pbskids.org/mobile.   

In addition to Ready To Learn funds, PBS Parents Play & Learn was funded in part by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

New FETCH! 3D-rendered Online Game: Ruff Ruffman’s Monumental Mini-golf

Kids ages 6-8 will help Ruff build his monumental mini-golf course in this 3D-rendered game. The game is a publicly-facing beta, which means that it is still in development and is available online to give users a first look. In Monumental Mini-golf, kids safely partner with other players to solve puzzles and create structures while practicing spatial reasoning, measurement, and 2D- and 3D-rendered shape manipulation. As an incentive, at the end of the game, kids get the chance to the play mini-golf in the course they created. Players interact with all their favorite characters from FETCH! WITH RUFF RUFFMAN while learning important math skills in this unique game.

Coming This Fall

WKAR will continue to build on this commitment to math learning with the launch of PEG + CAT this fall. The animated preschool series will follow the adorable, spirited Peg and her sidekick Cat as they embark on adventures and learn foundational math concepts and skills.

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