three adults and a child sitting at table talking

Partnership with Community Action Inc. provides Ready To Learn programs for kids

April 21, 2022 Marci Glaus Leave a Comment

Now in its second year, Community Action Inc. and the Beloit Public Library collaborate with PBS Wisconsin Education through a five-year Ready To Learn grant to help young children build school readiness skills through family and community engagement. The collaboration also works to develop exciting new resources that help young children succeed in school and life.

About Community Action Inc.

Community Action Inc. for Rock and Walworth Counties serves all populations and ages under a large umbrella, from housing to employment programs, to meals and more. They focus on early learning experiences through the Merrill Community Center in Beloit, the Community Kids Learning Center in Janesville, partnerships with Head Start, the Beloit Public Library and summer programs. 

With nearly 30 years of experience serving youth, Community Action Inc. executive director Marc Perry’s repertoire of educational opportunities for kids spans a myriad of topics, states, and learning spaces. He grew up with PBS and stands firmly behind public access to free, high-quality television and radio programming with positive and educational aims. Perry also serves as a member of the Friends of PBS Wisconsin Board of Directors. Partnering with PBS Wisconsin Education through Community Action Inc. is a natural fit.

Participation in Ready To Learn programs

In the last two months alone, more than 40 families have participated in meaningful playful learning experiences during the When I Grow Up Storytime with PBS KIDS program. PBS Wisconsin Education facilitates the fun alongside the Beloit Public Library and CareerTek by introducing interesting careers through experts in the field, storytime, and hands-on exploration. So far, young children have explored careers in librarianship, architecture and web development. 

woman and child at table putting toothpicks and marshmellows together creating a structure

PBS Wisconsin engagement specialist Mouna Algahaithi supports children exploring architecture as part of the When I Grow Up Storytime with PBS KIDS.

Perry includes the Beloit Public Library programming among his favorites for family participation. “The best interaction was last year when PBS ran family engagement sessions in the library. It was incredible — families were engaged, encouraged. Kids had a good time while learning too,” he said. 

This month, the Merrill Community Center Play and Learn Science program is well under way with 15 families signed up to participate. “Kids get more opportunities at the center. It exposes kids to a bigger world and educational opportunities. Parents too — to engage with kids with education,” said Perry. Every Thursday in April, PBS Wisconsin Education staff and community partners introduce activities to help activate science inquiry at the center. Participating families try hands-on exploration of science topics, read stories, share a meal, and receive a free book after each session! 

two adults and many children sitting at table doing activities on paper

Learning about rolling, sliding, and ramps during the first Play and Learn Science event at the Merrill Community Center.

PBS Wisconsin Education will also partner with Community Action Inc. via the Merrill Center this summer for two neighborhood cleanup days in the Hackett and Merrill communities. Daniel Tiger will attend, and families will receive educational materials and backpack giveaways!

This access to free, high-quality educational events and programming is what keeps Marc Perry energized in such partnerships.

The next When I Grow Up Storytime with PBS KIDS is May 7 at the Beloit Public Library. Community Action Inc. neighborhood cleanup days will be August 6 and 13.

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