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School District of Beloit one of several partners with PBS Wisconsin on First Learning Neighborhood

BELOIT—PBS Wisconsin offers new opportunities to learn and have fun with families, and Beloit has become a testing ground for that mission.

Beloit has been chosen by PBS Wisconsin to be its first Learning Neighborhood. Beloit will be a Learning Neighborhood for the next three years.

“A Learning Neighborhood is a community that includes local organizations and a PBS station that make early childhood education a priority,” said Mouna Algahaithi, PBS Wisconsin Early Learning Engagement Specialist.

The Learning Neighborhoods program was created in 2020 and it is funded through a program called Ready to Learn. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education awarded grant funding to the program in 2020.

The grant provided $24,322,018 in year one of a five-year cycle. These funds were distributed to a multitude of programs that PBS offers including new podcasts, television series and the Learning Neighborhoods.

“Learning Neighborhoods are happening throughout the country. Each station was given the funds from the Ready to Learn grant to pick one community and develop a Learning Neighborhood for a five year period,” Algahaithi noted. “We are so excited to work with Beloit for the next few years.”

PBS officially came to the community of Beloit in 2020 and will continue their Neighborhood Learning program until 2025. Algahaithi explained they will be funded throughout the five years from the station and the grant received by PBS as a whole.

“When we arrived in Beloit our first step was to reach out to the community and figure out how to best assist the youth education in the area,” Algahaithi said. “We reached out to organizations within Beloit to create events and programs for the public.”

PBS Wisconsin has partnered with several organizations and started to co-host or host events through these organizations. A few of the organizations that have partnered with PBS for the Learning Neighborhood include:

  • Beloit Public Library
  • Beloit Head Start
  • Community Action Inc.
  • School District of Beloit
  • Beloit Literacy for Life
  • Stateline Family YMCA

“2020 and 2021 we did a lot of connecting to the community and planning, while going into 2022 we have been able to plan more events,” Algahaithi said.

PBS advertises and announces their events through eventbright via the link

An upcoming event is at the Beloit Public Library. It is an ongoing story time event centered on possible careers, July’s event is centered around barbers. This will take place on July 2 at 11 a.m. at the Beloit Public Library.

“All of our events are free to attend and are suggested for children ages 2-8,” Algahaithi noted. “When people register for the event, they have to fill out a registration form. We ask them if they need transportation, if the child needs any accommodations and if there is any way we can best help them learn and feel comfortable.”

Algahaithi and her team will provide transportation to the event if people can not attend.

“We want to make sure our events are as inclusive as possible,” Algahaithi said. ”Everyone should have the opportunity to learn and participate.”

Algahaithi was able to highlight one type of event they offered throughout 2020 and 2021. These events consist of a four-week workshop program where families meet once a week to learn about a topic.

“We had a science-based four week program located at the Merrill Community Center, in 2020,” Algahaithi said. “15 families came out each week working together and learning.”