CHICAGO — A handful of recent studies have shown how far the country’s students have fallen since the start of the pandemic.
Similar to the “Summer Slide”, educators are working with students to recover from learning losses caused by a pandemic. One province is collaborating with educators, administrators, as well as local artists to produce content that will help children in need of a knowledge booster.
The letter of today in the production studio is D.
Jasmin Cardenas, an actress and bilingual storyteller, brings energy and passion to her performances in front of the camera.
“I fell in love with Mr. Rogers and LeVar Burton growing up and watching Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow, and I felt like they knew me,” said Cardenas, who works on Project Rainbow programming in the county. “So I hope that the children will view me as a friend.”
Project Rainbow is a county-led initiative for early childhood education. It brings together over two dozen partner organisations to produce video content and learning materials free of charge for educators to help close any learning gaps created by the pandemic.
Toni Preckwinkle, former Cook County Board chairman and educator, stated that “what we’ve seen over 18 months has basically lost the children two years of education.”
She claims that the initiative was an opportunity for the government intervene to address learning losses across the demographic and geographic spectrum.
“We’ve also asked our museums, our cultural institutions, to adapt content they already have for our audiences,” says Preckwinkle.
More than two dozen contributors — including zoos, forest reserves and the Chicago Children’s Theater — created and funded the content.
They have produced more than 30 hours of educational learning material.
“We really don’t want kids to passively watch and observe. Jacqueline Russell (Artistic Director, Chicago Children’s Theater), stated that they want children to actively participate. “And so, a lot of what we add to our content is a way for kids to really participate and be fully engaged.”
Cardenas states, “What is my regular practice in front the camera? Pretend to see and hear them. So that when I ask them questions, I really wait to hear what different answers they can give me.”
Nick Shields was a county public affairs officer and the creator of Project Rainbow. Father of three, Shields was searching for ways to get his children involved in quality screen time during the pandemic.
“As a father and when I saw my kids at home and saw some of the content that is out there and available, we felt there was room for us,” Shields said.