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Colorado expands public television lessons for young children

Eva Severance, a first-grader, concentrates on a reading lesson at Lincoln Elementary in Denver.

Lessons broadcast over public television will focus on literacy for younger students.

Denver Post file photo

Colorado students in kindergarten through third grade soon will have access to lessons in reading, math, science, and art through their television sets.

Gov. Jared Polis announced the launch of “Colorado Classroom: Learn with Me at Home” on Monday. The programming starts Sept. 7 and airs for at least 15 weeks on Rocky Mountain PBS. Developed in partnership with the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Education Initiative, the programming for young students builds on a summer program focused on literacy

The lessons, with a different theme each week, will reach families even if they don’t have internet access. Every Friday will feature interactive science lessons developed with help from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. The lessons will be broadcast in English with Spanish subtitles. 

Accompanying lesson plans and student work packets will be available online at www.rmpbs.org/ColoradoClassroom. Families can also get work packets at participating libraries, even without a library card. Call 800-274-6666 to find a library near you.

While many Colorado school districts are bringing students back to class, school districts that serve roughly half the state’s students are starting the school year remotely. Even in districts that offer in-person instruction, some families are choosing to keep their children home. The state online school, which supports many rural districts, reported a last-minute surge in demand and a shortage of elementary teachers. And many young children struggle to maintain attention in online lessons, making the broadcast lessons a possible alternative for some families. 

“Particularly for children who live in rural areas or in our cities who do not have consistent access to high-speed internet or computers at home, offering this complementary curriculum on our RMPBS broadcast channel ensures every child has a place to continue learning,” Amanda Mountain, president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Public Media, said in a press release.

The lessons, taught by Colorado master teachers, are funded by the governor’s discretionary portion of federal coronavirus relief money, the advocacy group Education Reform Now, and the insurance company Delta Dental. The Colorado Education Association, the teachers union, is also supporting the program with stipends for the teachers.

Programming airs from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday on public television stations around the state and again overnight from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. for families to record and use at their convenience. Short math lessons will air throughout the day.

Find your local public television station here.

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