WCTE finds Success in Innovative Model of Community Engagement

Last Updated by Kate Spears on

American industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company Henry Ford once said "Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." 

WCTE is seeking to fulfill our educational mission and we're set on achieving the success Ford referenced through coming together, keeping together and working together with our CC-ELM model of community engagement. 

CC-ELM stands for Community Collaboratives for Early Learning and Media and it was made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (“CPB”), as part of the 2015-20 Ready To Learn initiative (“RTL”). 

CC-ELM is an innovative model of community engagement designed to extend the reach and impact of the RTL content in low-income communities. Each CC-ELM consists of networks of partners in these communities that work together to give children ages two to eight (the “Target Audience”) a stronger foundation in early science and literacy learning.

Two key partners for WCTE in the Upper Cumberland are the Putnam County Schools Extended Learning Programs LEAPS and 21st Century as well as the Putnam County Library. 

The Putnam County Library recently completed PBS Kids ScratchJr focused Family Creative Learning Workshops that were facilitated by Cindy Putman, WCTE & Putnam County Schools RTL project manager. 

These workshops allow families to spend time working one on one with their child to create a project using the PBS Kids ScratchJr app and a mobile device. For the workshops, families could bring their own device, or be provided one by the CC-ELM members.  

PBS Kids Family Creative Learning is a series of workshops that engage families in a project-based creative process designed as a way for children ages 5-8 and their family members to explore the world of coding.  

These workshop experiences provide a safe place to explore, design, imagine and plan a family project that involves everyone understanding the importance of their role for project success.  

Children and families are encouraged to communicate, collaborate. and problem solve on their PBS Kids ScratchJr project. Research of children ages 5-8 shows that children are naturally curious and creative and are constantly attempting to make sense of the world around them.  

Early STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) can be a direct extension of a child's creative curiosity about their environment.  

During the month of September, CC-ELM member Chelsea Gifford, Children Services Director of the Putnam County Library and CC-ELM member Brenda Hughett, Extended Learning LEAPS and 21st Century Program Director for Putnam County Schools joined Cindy Putman to present two PBS KIDS ScratchJr Family Creative Learning Workshops.

These workshops were held at the Putnam County Library and at Jere Whitson Elementary School, and 22 different families attended these sessions.  

The families were taught to use the PBS KIDS ScratchJr app coding blocks to create projects that they imagined, designed and began creating. During the four sessions that are included in the FCLW, families are encouraged to ask questions but not share answers to leave the learning open ended. 

Aaron Morris, Senior Manager, PBS KIDS Community Engagement Content PBS, guided the CC-ELM members through these sessions by providing a through curriculum that was utilized to explore this way of engaging families in the hands on exploration of STEM.

At the end of the four sessions, the families celebrated the success of their projects by sharing them with the other families in their FCLW.   

Parents commented that it was fun to spend time with their kids being silly, laughing, planning and working together.  

Children commented that they spent time at home sharing with other family members the skills that they had learned about coding by using the PBS KIDS ScratchJr app.

At the end of each session, the CC-ELM members spent time reflecting about the session and ways to refine the activities that were presented to the families.

Other PBS KIDS ScratchJr FCLWs will be held with the Putnam County Library and the Putnam County School System.

Check WCTEs Facebook page for dates and information when these are scheduled.  

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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.