15May

Visit to PBS Studios in New York City

A few days ago, all of the PBS Kids Club 13 Ambassadors gathered at the new WNET Studios at Lincoln Center for a meet & greet luncheon.  Debbie Adler, PBS Channel 13/WNET’s Director of Online Marketing, has put together such an amazing group of women to join the team of ambassadors, including some of my favorite NYC bloggers, there are 14 total, and I am extremely honored to be a part of it all.  In addition, I am doubly honored to be associated with PBS Kids, a brand that I have known all of my life.  From the minute my own children were born, I introduced them to the high quality, educational programming that PBS Kids offers.

The PBS Kids Club is the new family membership program offered for our local NYC station, Channel 13/WNET.  If you love NYC and want to connect with other like-minded parents, as well as go to monthly events all over the city with PBS Kids as your host, you will want to join this program.  Last Sunday was the first of the year’s twelve event offerings at the Prospect Park Zoo with FETCH! + Fleece Festival with star Ruff Ruffman.
My kids were so memorized by all the great activities that were scheduled only for PBS Kids Club 13 members – crafts, a sheep sheering, an explorer’s hunt around the zoo, music, goody bags.  When we left, my daughter deliriously asked me when the next event would be.  She enjoyed it that much.  Actually, next month’s event is taking place at the Staten Island Children’s Museum on June 13th.  Find out more about it here.

Other landmarks on the Kids Club 2010 schedule include the South Street Seaport (August), the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers (also August), the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms in Morristown, NJ (September), the Intrepid (October) and the Brooklyn Museum (November).

The new WNET studio is stunning.  It literally just opened two weeks ago, so we were some of the first lucky guests to occupy the studio.  Located on 66th Street & Broadway, it offers street-level and second-floor studios that will allow New Yorkers and visitors to watch tapings of WNET’s shows.  Right now they are shooting episodes of the  new national prime-time news & public affairs magazine Need To Know, as well as locally focused shows Sunday Arts, Metro Focus, and introductions and cut-ins for Reel 13 and Great Performances.
Sandra Sheppard, WNET’s Head of Children’s Programming, spoke to us about some of the exciting work she’s doing this season and next.  A mother herself, she’s on a mission to provide solid educational programming that will inspire every child watching. Cyberchase is going into its eighth season.  The show is close to her heart,and she’s one of its executive producers.  Her mother was a math teacher, so math is in her blood and is at the heart of this program.  Cyberchase is American’s only math series for school-age kids.  Targeted at kids aged 8-11, it features a diverse group of kids who travel into Cyberspace, where they use math and brain power to thwart the villain and save the day.  The series reinforces the message that “math is for everyone.”   Season 8 premieres on June 25th with 5 new and 3 encore episodes airing every Friday through August 13th.

She also executive produces Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps. This is a 3D computer generated take on the original program.  Shappard said that it introduces kids to pursuing their dreams and called Angelina the “little ambassador to the arts.”  A team of accredited dance instructors and music education specialists helped develop the show’s arts education curriculum, and consultants from the American Ballet Theatre helped to choreograph the dance movements animated on the program, ensuring that they are age-appropriate for the characters. My own daughter grew up with the young Angelia Ballerina.  The character guided her through her time as a toddler.  Now, as a 7 year-old, she is equally inspired by this little girl who is now 8 on the show, who like her, loves to dance and wants to share her passion for it with everyone she meets.  My daughter was crazy about the screening copies that I brought home.   Ten new episodes will premiere in September 2010.

Franny’s Feet carries the same theme, about a young girl in an empowering position who travels the world.  These are also shows that have been key in my own household, so it was so inspiring to hear about the passion that carries these shows through development.  The stories interweave global awareness, science, geography, math and language arts.  It is currently in its 4th season.
Of course, there are many, many other programs on WNET, you can read all about them on PBSkids.org and it’s an incredible web site for your children.  At age 5, my son can already maneuver himself completely around the site and play games and watch videos on his own.

Then we heard from Kim Mullaney, WNET’s Associate Director, State and Local Education.  She oversees delivery of services to the Office of Early Childhood Education at the NYC Department of Education, and she’s directing WNET.org’s work on a project with the Office for Family Engagement and Advocacy, SchoolSourceNYC. She oversees a staff of 24 that is responsible for the literary program, particularly for the group age 2-8, working with libraries, using media for real learning, helping to promote PBS Kids programming at the museum level, a speaking series at libraries and much, much more.  Part of her focus is Thirteen/WNET’s Ready To Learn service that provides parents, teachers and caregivers in New York’s Tri-state area with public television resources that help children develop a lifelong love of learning. Thirteen builds partnerships with community organizations, childcare networks, schools, libraries, and government agencies.  She’s also works on the station’s flagship outreach events like Children’s Day at the Seaport and SuperCyberchase Day.
The Kids Club offers an amazing slate of activities for 2010.  Marcos Stafne, Head of Education at the Rubin Museum of Art (January) and Rebecca Hertz, also Head of Ecucation at the Noguchi Museum, (July) spoke to us about their respective institutions.  Both are places I have yet to explore and am so excited that I will have the opportunity as a PBS Kids Club 13 Ambassador.  Marcos Stafne – Head of Education, Rubin Museum of Art

The Rubin Museum of Art (located in Chelsea) features a plethora of early childhood and family learning opportunities.  This summer they are offering the Little Explorer’s Club for kids ages 3-5, as well as various workshops and tours for families.  Their programs are listed here.

The Noguchi Museum (located in Long Island City, Queens) also offers a variety of family programs, all of which are listed here.  They’ll be hosting an innovative music program for kids this summer called “Bang on a Can.”

If you love New York City as much as I do, you won’t want to miss this unique opportunity to team up with PBS Kids/WNET.  Join PBS Kids Club 13 today, and we’ll take this special journey with our kids together.
Disclosure: These screening copies were provided to me free of charge with no requirement or agreement of review requested in turn. I am an official Kids Club 13 Ambassador.

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