Spotlight on Free Community Events & Back-To-School Tips - Summer 2017

Last Updated by Kate Spears on

Join Ready To Learn project manager Cindy Putman as she flies solo on this week’s edition of WCTE's Get Ready To Learn Radio Show. Putman wants everyone to know about the great community events that are taking place for kids and families across the Upper Cumberland in the coming weeks and months.

Putman also gives a huge shout out of thanks to Life Church, especially Bob Sotis, for the great Back To School Bash that took place in Cookeville on July 21st. Life Church, Power of Putnam, Putnam County School System, Tennessee Tech Athletics, WCTE and more than 300 community volunteers worked in the extreme heat to provide free school supplies for families across the Upper Cumberland. Plans are already in place to expand on and improve this event for families across the Upper Cumberland in the summer of 2018.

Other important free events happening around our region are the Invention Convention, taking place Saturday July 29th at The Fit on TTU’s campus. This event is being hosted by the Cookeville Children's Museum and the TTU STEM Center. This event is a great way to have hands on experiences with STEM activities. Putman extends an invitation to everyone to stop by WCTE's booth and discover how the design process helps kids learn.

Invention Convention, Saturday, July 29 from 10-2, with a special soft opening for families and kids with special needs at 9 a.m

We’re also planning a series of events leading up to the August 21st Solar Eclipse.

WCTE's Solar Eclipse’s Free Events:

Saturday, August 19th, 2017 at the Putnam County Library - 10:30 A.M.

Eclipse sessions for families with NASA certified experts and photos with Jet Propulsion from WCTE's PBS KIDS Show, Ready Jet Go.

Later that day at Dogwood Park - 6:00 P.M.

Meet and Greet Jet Propulsion from WCTE 's PBS KIDS Show, Ready Jet Go.


Monday, August 21, 2017

Tennessee Tech University, Tucker Stadium - 10 a.m.

Eclipse Celebration with a Meet and Greet with Jet Propulsion from WCTE 's PBS KIDS Show, Ready Jet Go.

The First Day of School

Another important event is the first day of school and Putman shares suggestions from PBS Parents and her friend Daniel Tiger about ways that parents and students can prepare for the new school year.

Here is a collection of articles to help with transition from summer to school. This is another great resource for families about back to school challenges that may arise.

Here are some tips for making the back-to-school process more positive for your family!

Anticipate and address your child’s anxiety. Going back to school is stressful for kids of all ages, so head off the stress before school even starts, says Renee Clausell, a child psychologist in Long Island, New York. Talk with your children about new experiences and traditions, from using the potty at preschool to learning how to use a locker “in a playful and creative, role-playing way,” Clauselle says.

Manage your own anxiety. Maintain a positive attitude about summer ending, advises Edward Christopherson, a Kansas City-based child psychologist. “If you are nervous about school starting, then your child is certainly going to be nervous about school starting,” he says. It also helps to plan fun, transitional activities to prepare your kids, says Tina Feigal, an author and parenting coach in Roseville, Minn. “Plan a fun weekend for Labor Day, and include the kids in the plan,” she suggests. “If school has already started, it’s a nice buffer vacation. If it hasn’t, Labor Day is a great time to say goodbye to summer and hello to all the good things coming up in the new school year.”

Ease back into scheduled days. When your kids are used to running around outside until dark each night, shifting to the early morning school bus rush can be a real shock to the system. To ease the transition, about a week before the first day of school, start their bedtime routine about 10 minutes earlier each night and wake them up 10 minutes earlier each morning, every day, until they’re back on track. And Mom and Dad: don’t forget to readjust your bedtime schedules too!

Stay connected to nature. Going back to class doesn’t mean your kids have to say farewell to outdoor fun. Make a habit of getting outside together after the school day ends, for as long as the warm weather lasts. When the air turns cold, hold a “camp-in” weekend evening, suggests Sarene Marshall, director of The Nature Conservancy’s global climate change team: “Set up floor pillows or sleeping bags, turn off all the electronics, and play good, old-fashioned board games.” You can also encourage your kids to create a lasting record of the family’s outdoor activities by creating a “summer adventures journal” together, she notes.

Get back to healthy eating. If your family is like mine, your household inventory of potato chips and cookies skyrockets during the summer. The arrival of fall is a perfect time to teach your kids that family-focused healthy eating can be fun too. “While [kids] may be used to having ice cream every night in the summer, start swapping [those] out some nights for fruit Popsicles, frozen yogurt, or baked fruit sprinkled with cinnamon and brown sugar,” says Rania Batanyeh, a San Francisco-based nutritionist and wellness coach. “And be prepared with healthy snacks and meals when things get hectic, such as in the morning before school, when kids come home from school, and before dinner."


Tune in each Saturday morning at 9:30 for the WCTE Get Ready To Learn Radio Show, with host Cindy Putman on Zimmer Broadcasting's The HUB 107.7 FM and 1400 AM. 

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WCTE's Ready to Learn initiative addresses school readiness in the Upper Cumberland

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WCTE’s Educational Team can customize workshops or professional development trainings for your group or organization. For workshop information, or to inquire about scheduling a workshop, call 921-528-2222 x. 227 or email us.

Topics are listed below:

  • Using Media as a learning tool
  • Using PBS kids apps to extend learning
  • How to be your child’s first teacher
  • Sesame Street Workshops
  • How does poverty effect a child’s brain
  • Literacy and Math
  • Brain Development

Workshops can be conducted in English and Spanish.