ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Beginning today, PBS is opening
the beta test for a new Internet-based educational service designed to
provide children ages 3 to 6 with a comprehensive early childhood
curriculum. PBS KIDS PLAY!(SM), which will be offered as a subscription
service later this calendar quarter, uses interactive games and activities
to provide a personalized learning experience at home. The PBS KIDS PLAY!
Beta is currently available as a download from www.pbskidsplay.org and
requires a high-speed Internet connection to use.
(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080115/NETU084 )
All of the games and activities in PBS KIDS PLAY! were designed from
the ground up specifically to meet nationally recognized educational
standards and benchmarks. The PBS KIDS PLAY! curriculum includes essential
skill areas in Math, Science, Language, Literacy, Creativity, Healthy
Development, and Social Studies. With a single click, parents can read
about the learning objectives and instructions for each activity. PBS KIDS
PLAY! also provides an easy-to- use progress chart that helps parents see
the "big picture." The chart shows how each child is advancing through the
curriculum, including an indicator of how far the child has progressed in
each skill area. This information is tailored specifically for each child
and includes recommendations for activities to try, based on the child's
"A critical mass of families now has broadband Internet access and that
creates an opportunity to take online learning to a whole new level for a
new generation -- and that's exactly what PBS KIDS PLAY! is designed to
do," said Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President, PBS KIDS. "PBS KIDS PLAY!
is a natural extension of the PBS mission to advance children's learning
with new, innovative media approaches."
"We've taken a comprehensive approach to children's learning in order
to address the whole child," said Ben Grimley, Senior Director of
Interactive Businesses at PBS.
PBS KIDS characters from programs including CURIOUS GEORGE, SUPER WHY!,
MISTER ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD, FRANNY'S FEET, MAMA MIRABELLE'S HOME MOVIES,
and THE BERENSTAIN BEARS will guide children through the activities.
"By delivering PBS KIDS PLAY! over the Internet, we're able to
continually expand the service, offering a steady stream of new activities
to keep children engaged in learning," said Grimley.
Following are highlights of PBS KIDS PLAY!:
-- PBS KIDS PLAY! is an adaptive learning environment -- the learning
activities adapt to each child based on his or her individual progress,
opening up exciting new learning opportunities as the child advances.
-- A built-in recommendations engine automatically suggests increasingly
challenging and varied activities, tailored to each child, to keep the
child engaged in learning.
-- Text-free navigation enables pre-readers to navigate PBS KIDS PLAY!
-- Children can customize their own room in PBS KIDS PLAY!, creating an
environment that they look forward to visiting.
-- Children can save and edit creative projects, such as drawings and
-- PBS KIDS PLAY! streams selected PBS KIDS TV episodes on demand inside
of a child-friendly Flash player.
-- A personal "favorites" list, showing thumbnail images of each activity,
makes it easy to bookmark activities and find them later. Parents can
also view recently played activities.
-- Parents can pre-set the PBS KIDS PLAY! "Take a Break" feature to
enforce breaks and limit their child's time on the computer as they see
-- PBS KIDS PLAY! is a safe desktop environment that runs full-screen and
does not allow sharing of personal information or any communications
-- Technical support is available 24/7 via toll-free phone and email
beginning January 16.
During the beta test, PBS KIDS PLAY! is available for families to try
at no cost. A limited number of activities are available, and more will be
added throughout the beta period. To test the service, parents can visit
www.pbskidsplay.org. The initial setup takes approximately two minutes. The
service requires a computer with Windows XP or Vista operating system, mid-
range processing power (Pentium 4 or Dual-Core), and broadband Internet
access. PBS is planning to support the Mac OS in a future phase of
For families without broadband Internet service at home, PBS is
launching a pilot program to offer PBS KIDS PLAY! free through
participating PBS stations and selected local libraries with which they
When it officially launches later this quarter, PBS KIDS PLAY! will be
offered for a monthly subscription fee of $9.95, or $79.95 annually.
About PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO!
PBS KIDS, for preschoolers, and PBS KIDS GO!, for early elementary
school kids, are committed to providing the highest quality non-commercial
content and learning environment for children across the country. Providing
age- appropriate, diverse programming for kids, PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO!
programs consistently earn more prestigious awards than any other broadcast
or cable network. Only PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! have earned the unanimous
endorsement of parents, children, industry leaders and teachers. With
additional PBS resources to complement its programming, including PBS KIDS
online (pbskids.org), PBS KIDS GO! online (pbskidsgo.org), PBS Parents
(pbsparents.org), PBS Teachers (pbs.org/teachers), PBS Ready To Learn
services and literacy events across the country, PBS is providing the tools
necessary for positive child development. PBS is a nonprofit media
enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 355 public television
stations, serving nearly 73 million people each week and reaching 99% of