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Making a Difference: Navigating childhood adventures

When unidentified paw prints were discovered in the backyard of Brittany Robinson’s Louisville home, her son, Mason, eagerly took up the case.

“He grabbed a pen and pad and even carried a walkie-talkie out there,” Robinson said. “It was a big investigation. He was determined to figure out whose dog had been in our backyard.”

The clues ultimately pointed to an oversized cat, but Robinson nonetheless was left impressed by her son’s industriousness. His zeal for exploration, she said, is nurtured by KET and his love of the PBS KIDS program Odd Squad.

A portrait of Brittany Robinson and her son Mason sitting on a couch and smiling.

I love that KET programs are about real life and help put things like friendships and honesty into perspective.

Odd Squad is his favorite because he gets caught up in the investigations they do and it helps him use his imagination,” Robinson said. “It makes me happy because the characters use a lot of descriptive words, so I see him problem-solving in a way that not many six-year-olds do.”

Robinson said she, too, was a child raised on KET, watching programs such as Arthur, Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow, which she credits for helping her overcome her childhood aversion to reading. And she’s tickled to see that her son likewise gravitates to KET’s educational programming.

“It’s really hard to monitor everything that kids watch,” Robinson said. “So, it feels good as a parent knowing I can trust KET and PBS programs, and that he can do something he loves, like watch TV, and still be learning.”

Research shows just how important the early years in a child’s life are. By age five, a child’s brain will have reached 90 percent of its development, making this a critical period for building foundational cognitive and social-emotional skills that kids will need to be lifelong learners.

PBS KIDS programs such as Odd Squad and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood continue the PBS tradition of high-quality, research-based educational content that covers the full range of a child’s development, which explains why parents repeatedly rank PBS KIDS as one of the most trusted and relied upon brand for school readiness. A 2015 study by WestEd found that first-graders who regularly watched Odd Squad and engaged with its educational activities reported a greater interest in and knowledge of mathematics than their peers and showed significant improvement in math test scores.

Mason’s kindergarten year of school, Robinson said, was passed mostly through distance learning, which she feared might stunt his social development as he wasn’t around other kids. But she took some relief that many of the PBS KIDS programs he enjoys, such as Arthur and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, address children’s social and emotional growth, helping them understand their own feelings and learn to work together with other children and adults.

“I love that KET programs are about real life and help put things like friendships and honesty into perspective,” Robinson said. “I’m so proud of how Mason has done with his peers. His teacher mentioned that he’s able to be friends with everyone. As a parent, that’s always nice to hear.”