Innovative Spanish Language Series Targeting Home-Based Child Care Providers to Begin Airing...

Innovative Spanish Language Series Targeting Home-Based Child Care Providers to Begin Airing on PBS Stations Statewide this Week

‘Los Niños en Su Casa’ Will Provide Critical Information to Latinos Thanks to Major Grants from BP, First 5 California, First 5 LA and Others


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Los Angeles, CA–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–September 10, 2004–KCET/Hollywood, the west coast flagship station of PBS, has announced the debut of its much-anticipated preschool caregiver education series, ‘Los Niños en Su Casa’ and ‘A Place of Our Own’. The two shows will provide practical information to informal providers on caring for young children and the importance of early learning. The shows will air on California PBS stations statewide beginning September 13. The new series is made possible through generous grants from BP, First 5 California and First 5 LA. First 5 California and First 5 LA are state and county commissions created by Proposition 10, the voter-approved tobacco tax initiative that provides funding for early childhood development programs.

‘Los Niños en Su Casa’ and its English-language counterpart, ‘A Place of Our Own’, which will be produced in talk show format, specifically targets non-professional caregivers. ‘Los Niños en Su Casa’ will provide Spanish-speaking caregivers the same access to valuable information provided in the English programming with a focus on issues that concern the Latino community.

“This is a historic moment in the life of KCET. We are enormously grateful to BP, First 5 California, First 5 LA and our other funders for their visionary leadership in helping us provide top quality in-language programming to our devoted Latino audience, who constitute more than 60 percent of our viewers,” said Al Jerome, President and CEO of KCET. “Our programming is designed to enrich the lives of children. Since Latino children constitute half of all births in California, we feel it is crucial to also reach their parents and caregivers with cultural programming that is sensitive to their needs.”

For more than a decade, KCET has been conducting ‘Ready to Learn’ workshops that have benefited childcare providers throughout the state. This, coupled with our stature as a broadcaster of more than 50 hours of educational children’s programming per week, make KCET uniquely qualified to offer these two important new series that can help prepare our children for school.

“Research tells us that the pace of children’s learning during the early years depends significantly on their environment, and what parents and caregivers do during these years to support their children’s growth will have a meaningful impact throughout their lives,” said Rob Reiner, Chair of First 5 California. “This innovative program will give parents and caregivers the tools they need to get their children off to the best possible start in life.”

One-third of all children ages 0 to 4 in California are currently in formal child care settings. The remaining 65 percent are either in the care of a parent or informal caregiver, many of whom are eager for more information and training in early childhood education. For the most part, availability combined with both the need to work and affordability forces Latino parents to rely on family members, friends, neighbors and home-based caregivers for the care of their children. In addition, many parents must turn to unlicensed providers who lack formal training and have a limited understanding of the importance of the early years.

Through a fun and interactive format, ‘Los Niños en Su Casa’ will offer viewers advice and “how-to’s” on important topics such as child nutrition, child safety, discipline and literacy. The show will be supported by extensive community outreach and training that will reinforce the program’s content and provide workforce development for licensed and unlicensed childcare providers. A robust interactive Web site will also accompany the series.

Alina Rosario, whose credits include guest star roles on the CBS series ‘Murder She Wrote’ and ‘Family Law’ and ‘Diagnosis Murder’; and Univision’s ‘Lente Loco’, among many others, will host ‘Los Niños en Su Casa’. Debi Gutierrez, a former teacher, stand-up comedian, wife and mother of three, will host ‘A Place of Our Own’.

Ross J. Pillari, president, BP America, said that the company’s support of the new program was a central component of BP’s commitment to quality education. “At BP we believe that education is the most powerful tool we have to advance not just as a company, but as a society,” Pillari said. “But it’s important to remember that a child’s education begins long before his or her first day of Kindergarten. BP is delighted to be a part of an innovative new approach that can help lay the foundation for our children’s educational success.”

“As part of our Universal Preschool Initiative, we have committed to expanding training opportunities for those working in child care and preschool,” said First 5 LA Executive Director Evelyn V. Martinez. “This program allows us to get the most up-to-date information about child care to a large audience of providers who may not have access to formal training.”

‘A Place of Our Own’ and ‘Los Niños en Su Casa’ are the initial efforts under the banner of KCEd(TM), a comprehensive educational initiative developed by KCET to target educational needs in our region. 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 state. Productions of KCET, the shows are being produced in association with Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind ‘Sesame Street’ and so much more. The shows are also produced in association with 44 Blue Productions, Inc. They are slated to air on PBS stations throughout the state.

Funding for the new series includes a 5-year, $10 million grant from BP, which will go towards production costs over the first five years and provide a production development fund for future educational initiatives. An additional $4 million grant from First 5 California, $2.3 million from First 5 LA, and $l.5 million from an anonymous individual donor will help fund the first year of production.

The Children’s and Family Commission of Orange County, The W.M. Keck Foundation, the Fletcher Jones Foundation, The Rose Hills Foundation, The Roth Family Foundation, The Orfalea Family Foundation and Indy Mac Bank also provided funding for the series.

KCET, the west coast flagship station of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), broadcasts to four million viewers a week in 11 counties. In September, the Hollywood-based station begins its 40th year of providing an independent media voice to Southern and Central California. Over the years it has garnered hundreds of awards for its local and regional news and public affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions, its quality educational family and children’s programs and its outreach and community services.

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CONTACT:

Deborah Kazanelson Deane

(818) 788-1679

Innovative Spanish Language Series Targeting Home-Based Child Care Providers to Begin Airing on PBS Stations Statewide this Week