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The PBS KIDS Parent Club Project

Encouraging Woodville Parents to Engage In Their Child's Learning

“At Woodville, about half of our kindergarten students come to us with no pre-k experience and are not kindergarten ready. Kindergarten students also typically have lower attendance rates than the rest of our students, setting poor habits for the rest of their academic career. We would love to engage our parents early on with resources and support to help them encourage and guide their students to value and attend school. 100% of our students receive free lunch and breakfast and almost all of our families reside in public housing.” Jonti Simmons, MSW, Site Coordinator at Woodville Elementary School, Communities in Schools of Richmond

What is the PBS KIDS Parent Club?

The PBS KIDS Parent Club is a pilot training program designed to help get kindergarten through second grade parents actively involved in supporting their children’s education and promote school attendance. The program is a collaboration between the Community Idea Stations’ Ready To Learn program and Woodville Elementary School. By working with the Communities in Schools Coordinator at Woodville Elementary school, we held monthly workshops designed to provide parents helpful tools to engage in their child’s education.

The Community Idea Stations has supported literacy efforts at Woodville Elementary for more than five years by providing volunteer readers and books to build home libraries for these children. The PBS Parent Club is a natural extension of this effort, reaching beyond the classroom and into the home by engaging these parents in the learning process.

How the project works?

To encourage parents to participate in the program, the station offered to create a Ready to Learn television spot featuring the PBS Parent Club families. Forty six families enrolled in the project and agreed to attend at least three out of five workshops offered once a month at the school from October to April. The parents also agreed to send their children to school on a regular basis and to be there on time.

Last Thursday (5/12), the pilot program ended with a party! Over a hundred people came to our PBS KIDS Family Game Night with Daniel Tiger at Woodville Elementary. Along with food and games, we premiered the Ready To Learn TV spot featuring the PBS KIDS Parent Club families.

In the end, the teachers at Woodville Elementary were incredibly impressed by the engagement of the parents. It is a huge accomplishment for families dealing with tough circumstances to follow through and complete such a project. One of our Parent’s Project goals was to help them understand that they are their child’s most important and influential teacher. These parents now know that they mattered, they can make a difference, and they could, in fact, help their kids and be leaders in their respective neighborhoods.