The initiative is part of a national PBS effort to provide high-quality, educational TV programming for young children, said Bruce Haines, WFWA general manager. Nielsen TV ratings from September 2014-September 2015 indicate PBS stations reach more children ages 2-5, more moms with young children and more children from low-income families than any children's TV network.
WFWA already offers children's programming full time on its 39.2 channel, which made it easy to transition to the new national PBS Kids programming feed, Haines said. There is no extra cost to WFWA or to viewers.
WFWA previously didn't have the rights to provide PBS Kids programs as livestreams on computers and devices such as tablets, e-readers, video game systems and smartphones, Haines said. As of Monday, WFWA viewers can access all of the shows as livestreams through the PBS Kids video app and through http://www.pbskids.org and http://www.wfwa.org.
Haines said various PBS Kids shows emphasize vocabulary, literacy, social-emotional growth and STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
Exposure to those skills through PBS Kids shows will help prepare children to succeed in kindergarten and beyond, he said. But the programs are just one part of educating and preparing young children, which also includes activities such as reading books with parents and exploring nature.
"We know the amount of programming a child watches is very important," said Shannon Gage, program director for the Early Childhood Alliance in Fort Wayne. "But the quality of programming is even more important."
Gage said parents can maximize their child's learning by watching quality educational children's programs together and then building on the learning taking place in the shows. If parents have questions about use of educational programming, they can call Early Childhood Alliance at 745-2501 or 1-800-423-1498, or go to http://www.ecalliance.org.
The nonprofit organization serves about 300 children ages 6 weeks to school age at two child-care centers in Fort Wayne. It also serves as a child-care resource and referral agency for Allen and nine other counties in northeast Indiana.
WHAT: Public television station WFWA, PBS39, in Fort Wayne, on Monday will begin broadcasting the national PBS Kids programming feed 24 hour per day, seven days a week.
These are some of the PBS Kids shows that air on WFWA, Channel 39.2, and the skills they develop in young children:
* STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math): "Curious George," "Dinosaur Train," "Nature Cat" and "Odd Squad"
* Literacy: "Martha Speaks," "Sesame Street" and "WordGirl"
* Social/emotional: "Arthur," "Bob the Builder," "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" and "Thomas & Friends"