Los Angeles, CA–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–January 24, 2006–Parents and caregivers of preschool-age children can find the help they need to prepare their children for school as KCET/Los Angeles, the West Coast flagship station of PBS, launches the second season of the award winning companion educational series, A Place of Our Own and Los Niños en Su Casa, beginning Monday, January 23, 2006. The series, which premiered in September 2004, air statewide on California public television stations (consult local listings). Sixty-five episodes for each series have been produced for the second season.
A Place of our Own and Los Niños en Su Casa are unique in that they address the needs of children up to age five in both English and Spanish-language versions. The programs provide critical child development and school readiness information for parents and caregivers. Kindergarten teachers estimate that one in three children is unprepared for the challenges of school. Only one-third of all children ages 0-4 are currently in formal childcare settings. The remaining 65% are either in the care of a parent or informal caregiver, and many are eager for more information and training in early childhood education.
Generous grant renewals from First 5 California, providing $4 million, and First 5 LA, providing $2.3 million, as well as the second year of a five-year, $10 million commitment from BP have made the additional programs possible. The Children and Families Commission of Orange County has also renewed its grant, including a four-year financial commitment to support the series. Funding also includes second year installments from the Rose Hills Foundation and the Roth Family Foundation.
Al Jerome, president and CEO of KCET said, “We are very grateful to the visionary funders who contributed financially to make these series possible. We are also indebted to the community leaders who gave their time and shared experience and wisdom to make this a success. We know that we are reaching an underserved audience hungry for the information in these programs. Our ratings indicate that 45% of viewers for the English series and 52% of the Spanish series have educational levels of a high school degree or less. KCET is committed to serving our community by enhancing the educational opportunities for young children.”
“The success of these shows speaks in to the incredible need that KCET is filling within the caregiver community,” said Rob Reiner, Chair of First 5 California. “A Place of Our Own and Los Niños en Su Casa are having a positive effect on the caregivers who are tuning in, and more importantly, the children they care for. First 5 California is proud to continue our partnership with KCET on these ground-breaking programs.”
A Place of Our Own, hosted by Debi Gutierrez, and Los Niños en Su Casa, hosted by Alina Rosario, are talk shows designed to target parents, grandparents, friends, babysitters and anyone who frequently takes care of young children. The series offer viewers advice and tips on topics such as building language and literacy skills, behavior, special needs and nutrition. The series are supported with extensive community outreach and websites throughout California. Both series were nominated for local Emmys, Los Niños en Su Casa won in the category of “Best Informational/Public Affairs Series.” The series jointly were also nominated for an Imagen award.
“BP’s support for this initiative is the single largest community investment we have ever made in California,” said Ross Pillari, President of BP America. “In order to meet the challenge of preparing the next generation for scholastic success, we believed unprecedented steps were required. After the success of the first season, it is clear that our investment is making a meaningful difference in the lives of Californians.”
Research conducted with 200 caregivers who viewed the first season confirmed that these caregivers increased their knowledge in featured areas including problem solving, managing aggressive behavior and sharing. In addition, the series led to significant positive changes in actual caregiver behavior. Researchers also indicated that over 80% of tested caregivers who viewed these two series reported increased knowledge as a result of viewing the programs. The results applied to both Spanish and English speaking caregivers.
“The outstanding public response to ‘A Place of Our Own’ speaks to the great need in LA County for not only this type of television programming, but also to the desire of parents and child care givers themselves for more resources that will enable them to give our children the best start in life,” said Evelyn V. Martinez, First 5 LA executive director. “With its programming, workshops, website and community outreach, KCET has proven to be a true community partner to First 5 LA and its mission to improve the lives of all young children and families in LA County.”
Workshops and Website Expand Series’ Reach
During the first year, KCET in collaboration with other California public television stations and community organizations conducted over 200 local workshops, reaching an estimated 9500 children under the age of five.
Workshops teach caregivers how to apply ideas and activities from the series, and also provided a much-needed opportunity for caregivers to share their experiences with each other and sense belonging to a greater community. Workshops are organized in three subjects: Language & Literacy, Conflict Resolution, and Play & Creativity. Between 92% and 95% of workshop attendees reported they would use the tips in their own homes. In this coming year, KCET outreach will continue to create additional materials, expand the topics covered by the workshop and develop a companion workbook for viewers.
The websites http://www.losninosensucasa.org and http://www.aplaceofourown.org reach beyond the broadcast of the series to provide additional information, as well as access to local resources, and opportunities for viewers to give feedback. For the first season, the websites were nominated for a “Best Television Website” Webby award and Eppy Award finalists for “Best Community Service” website. The additional funding allows the websites to continue adding new episode-based information and to expand to include workshop and outreach sections and new features such as community message boards.
A Place of Our Own and Los Niños en Su Casa are the initial efforts under the banner of KCEd, a comprehensive educational initiative developed by KCET to target educational needs. KCET developed the concept for A Place of Our Own and Los Niños en Su Casa in consultation with child development and early education experts throughout the nation. Productions of KCET, the series are being produced in association with Sesame Workshop. The series are also being produced in association with 44 Blue Productions, Inc.
For more information about the programs and to download images, please visit About KCET/Press Room at http://www.kcet.org.
NOTE TO EDITORS: A high-resolution image is available at: http://www.hispanicprwire.com/home.php?l=in