WGBH News and Media Relations


September 16, 2014

WGBH Receives New Ready To Learn Initiative Funding to Support Early Childhood Learning in Lawrence and Boston

In partnership with Imajine That, funding will extend media literacy services to underserved communities, children, teachers, and families

BOSTON, Mass. (September 16, 2014) – WGBH announced today that it will expand school readiness projects in the Lawrence and Boston communities with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and PBS. WGBH is one of 21 public television stations across the country to receive funding as part of the CPB-PBS Ready To Learn (RTL) Initiative. Working with interactive children’s museum, Imajine That, WGBH will develop two out-of-school learning programs in Lawrence and the Roxbury and Dorchester neighborhoods of Boston to accelerate math skills for preschool and kindergarten-aged children.

“Research shows that early learning can help children succeed in school and in life, and the need is even greater for kids from underserved communities,” said Brigid Sullivan, Vice President for Children's Media and Educational Programming, WGBH. “With the additional funding from the Ready to Learn initiative and partners like Imajine That, WGBH can extend resources to help families support early math and literacy learning for our kids.”

With millions of children lacking the basic early math and literacy skills to succeed in school, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and PBS have joined forces through the Ready To Learn Initiative, a project funded by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Congress, to address this critical school readiness issue, particularly in low-income communities. The RTL Initiative uses multiplatform media and other learning tools – including television programs, interactive games and mobile apps, as well as hands-on activities – to engage and strengthen early learning experiences for children ages 2-8 at home, in preschool, and in out of school settings. 

“We are so honored to be part of this movement connecting children, families and community in an integrative model that focuses on building relationships and skills with accessible technology,” said Susan Leger Ferraro, President and CEO of Imajine That.

Over the course of two years, WGBH will collaborate with Imajine That and local educational partners to serve children in school, after school, and throughout the summer of 2015. WGBH will also work with Imajine That to provide training to its educators on how to use RTL multiplatform content, and to parents on how to engage their children in math and literacy activities at home. The RTL resources will draw from WGBH’s own Curious George, as well as the children’s public television programs Peg+Cat and Dinosaur Train.

Imajine That will host a free technology and math event on Saturday, September 27th from 10am-12pm for Lawrence-area families. The interactive event will provide families with resources about great apps and websites that their children can play and learn on, including content and games produced by the WGBH and RTL partnership. It is open to the public and local officials have been invited.

WGBH, a local listener- and viewer-supported public broadcaster and the largest producer of television and web content for PBS, has a longstanding commitment to serving Massachusetts’ educational efforts. In addition to its broadcast commitment and its new partnership with Imajine That, WGBH serves as Massachusetts’ digital media partner on two ambitious federally-supported Race to the Top initiatives aimed at reshaping learning for the 21st century. This fall, WGBH will again serve as a media partner for the Massachusetts STEM Summit, hosted by the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable and the UMass Donohue Institute. In 2002, WGBH created Teachers Domain to provide Massachusetts teachers with an assortment of digital assets curated to complement the Commonwealth’s curriculum. Teachers Domain served as the model for PBS LearningMedia, which includes more than 35,000 digital resources for teachers and educators across the country.

About WGBH

WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web. Television channels include WGBH 2, WGBX 44, and the digital channels World and Create. WGBH Radio serves listeners across New England with 89.7 WGBH Boston Public Radio; 99.5 WCRB; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. Find more information at wgbh.org.

About Imajine That

The Imajine That Museum is a first of its kind family and child interactive museum where human potential has no boundaries. Our unique 12,000 square foot play space offers an environment where families can create and learn together in a safe and educational manner. Imajine That's Imagination Stations" include a child sized Whole FoodsÒ grocery store, a lifesize dinosaur climbing structure, Between the LionsÒ literacy area, Peep and the Big Wide WorldÒ Science Station, Lowell General Circle of Health Doctors Office play area, and an arts and crafts area.

In addition to the museum, Imajine That University (ITU) offers full-day family engagement preschool programs located at the Riverwalk Lawrence and at the Rollins School in Lawrence. Imajine That also offers extended learning day programs in Boston Public Schools. Massachusetts residents can find Imajinators (Imajine That staff) in their local libraries and town events throughout the year where they conduct hands-on activities for children and families to engage in learning and fun.

About The Ready To Learn Initiative

The Ready To Learn Initiative is a cooperative agreement funded and managed by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Innovation and Improvement. It supports the development of innovative educational television and digital media targeted at preschool and early elementary school children and their families. Its general goal is to promote early learning and school readiness, with a particular interest in reaching low-income children. In addition to creating television and other media products, the program supports activities intended to promote national distribution of the programming, effective educational uses of the programming, community-based outreach, and research on educational effectiveness.

The contents of this release were developed under a grant from the Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

The project is funded by a Ready To Learn grant (PR/AWARD No. U295A100025, CFDA No. 84.295A) provided by the Department of Education to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.



WGBH Media Relations

Emily Balk

Catherine Burke