United Way of the Capital Area has received a grant from IBM for three Young Explorer™ learning centers, which are the centerpiece of IBM’s KidSmart Early Learning grant program. United Way has donated those computers to three of its partners in the tri-county metro area who are helping the agency reach its goal of preparing children to enter school by age five developmentally ready for academic success.
United Way partners receiving Young Explorers learning centers include the Canton Public Library for use by the general public. In Midtown Jackson, the Excel-by-5 Parent Resource Center and the Prosperity Center received learning centers for their programs targeting children between the ages of four and seven and their families.
United Way partners receiving Young Explorers learning centers include the Canton Public Library for use by the general public. “The Young Explorer has been a wonderful addition to the Canton Library. The library has been interested for some time in having a computer specifically designed for children in the library. With its variety of fun and interactive early literacy games, the Young Explorer is ideal for some of our youngest patrons (ages 3-7),” said Jaclyn Lewis, Youth Services Director, Madison County Library System.
“The grant by IBM enables us to bring breakthrough technology here to the Mid-Jackson Family Resource Center to help not only our young children to achieve literacy skills but also engages the whole family in the literacy process thus increasing their literacy skills as well,” said Eileen Beazley, Early Childhood Director for Midtown Partners, Inc.
“IBM is excited to partner with United Way on our KidSmart Early Learning program, providing new opportunities for children to explore concepts in math, science and language. IBM is dedicated to bridging the digital divide and building the skills that young students need to succeed in their future education and their eventual careers,” said Stanley Litow, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and President, IBM International Foundation.
IBM’s KidSmart program includes the Young Explorer, a computer housed in brightly colored, child-friendly Little Tikes™ furniture and equipped with award-winning educational software to help children learn and explore concepts in math, science and language. The computer centers can also help children learn important socialization skills such as cooperation and sharing, which are essential to classroom success. In addition, teachers participating in the program become more confident about incorporating technology into their classrooms.
The KidSmart program also includes access to the KidSmart website kidsmartearlylearning.org. Available in eight languages, the site helps parents guide their children’s use of technology and preschool teachers use technology more effectively in their classrooms.
IBM developed the KidSmart program in 1998 to help reduce the digital divide, especially in urban areas, where it was becoming apparent that children from less affluent backgrounds needed access to specialized technology tools and educational materials to better prepare them to enter school. Since the inception of KidSmart, IBM has donated more than 55,000 Young Explorer learning centers to schools and nonprofit organizations in 60 countries, serving more than 10 million students and 100,000 teachers.