PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) have launched a project to give away educational apps to Head Start centers, local PBS stations, and other organizations in underserved communities nationwide. It is the latest service from the Ready to Learn Initiative, an early learning effort led by PBS and CPB with funding from the U.S. Department of Education.

From now through September, PBS and CPB will work with Head Start centers and PBS stations nationwide to distribute download codes Head Start centers, Title I schools, and other community-based organizations in low-income areas that have devices for the use of children. Additionally, educators and families will be able to obtain codes for use on classroom and at-home devices.

The codes are valid for two new apps based on the Dinosaur Train series produced by the Jim Henson Co.: All Aboard the Dinosaur Train! and Dinosaur Train Camera Catch! The apps are designed to help kids ages 3 to 5 build critical math skills.

“Head Start teachers are always looking for ways to bring new educational content, especially in math and science, into their classrooms,” said Yasmina Vinci, executive director of the National Head Start Association. “We are excited for this opportunity to make PBS Kids’ educational apps available to Head Start programs.”

In Dinosaur Train Camera Catch!, kids “catch” flying dinosaurs with the phone’s camera function in a designated pattern, building visual acuity and pattern recognition skills.

In All Aboard the Dinosaur Train!, children need to match the passengers with the right train cars, challenging them to problem-solve by estimating dinosaur sizes and comparing them with the train cars’ capacity, puzzles that require reasoning and which lay the groundwork for math.

The Ready to Learn Initiative is a grant program managed by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement. It supports the development of innovative educational television and digital media targeted at preschool and early elementary school children and their families.

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