Making a Difference: Virginia Lanzotti
Their New Kentucky Home
I am so grateful to have programming that all three of our children find interesting, and I never have to worry about violence or negative role models.
Virginia Lanzotti – mother of three, Lexington
When Virginia Lanzotti and her attorney husband, Dave, considered moving to Lexington, Ky., they immediately could see the benefits of living in the Bluegrass State.
The horses, Dave knew, would appeal to the animal lover in his wife. And when they arrived, Virginia, a British native, fell in love with the rolling countryside that is so reminiscent of her homeland. And now that they’re residents, they’ve found Kentucky to be a great place to raise their three lively children.
But what they didn’t expect, Virginia says, was a resource that matched their goals to raise literate, curious, and caring children—PBS Kids programming on KET.
“KET’s programming is jibing with the messages I’m trying to give them,” said the mother of Josh, 7, Ethan, 4, and Ashley, 2.
“Since they were small, I knew that if I was busy getting dishes put away after breakfast, I could permit them to watch one of the shows on KET and they would be strengthening their understanding of phonetics, for example, and having fun in the process,” said Virginia, who also works as a labor and delivery nurse at Central Baptist Hospital.
Often, programs on KET provide a springboard for family discussions. The Wild Kratts meshes nicely with a family that always has room for another dog. “They’ll come back to me and say, ‘Hey Mom, isn’t it cool, look at this, about bees!’ And it’s naturally something I feel excited about too. It’s reinforcing, and it’s the right fit for us.”
Like many parents, the Lanzottis have had numerous discussions about how they want to raise their children. And an early conversation, Virginia says, had to do with fostering early literacy in the home.
“From the moment that the kids became verbal we started showing them letter puzzles, we had letters in the bath, we made letters in shaving cream. And then when they began to see them on KET, it became even more entertaining and fun,” she said.
“And now that they do know how to read, it’s opened so many doors,” she continued. “When we go to the library, their learning has become so much more self-directed. They can go scan the titles and find what they’re interested in, which makes nurturing their curiosity much easier.”
An avid cook, gardener, and pet owner, Virginia exposes her children to these interests — and finds reinforcement in KET’s programming. Trips to the farmer’s market naturally lead to a discussion of healthy eating, which is mirrored in many PBS Kids program episodes. In addition, she points to series such as WordGirl, The Electric Company, and Sesame Street as family favorites that have effectively engaged her children while fostering her own family’s values.
“I am so grateful to have programming that all three of our children find interesting, and I never have to worry about violence or negative role models,” she continued. “We quickly realized that children imitate what they see on TV, whether that is aggressive behavior, being disrespectful to adults, or excessive clowning around. I never have to worry about violence or negative role models when they watch KET.”
School, participation in team sports, and even trips to a nearby park for romps with the family dogs occupy a lot of the Lanzottis’ time. Budgeting her kids’ TV time, Virginia says, becomes crucial.
“There are only so many hours in the day. Why would I waste time parking them in front of something that’s not good for them? I don’t want them to spend a lot of time in front of the TV, but when they are there, I want it to be something that is improving their lives in some way.”