WITF Distributes Over 3,000 Free Books and Activities to Kindergarten Classrooms

WITF announced today its Explore in the Classroom program delivered 3,180 free books and educational resources to 59 classrooms in Harrisburg, York City, and Lancaster school districts. The regional PBS and NPR member station for Central Pennsylvania, WITF public television was founded by a group of regional educators in 1964.

“Through programs like Explore in the Classroom, WITF partners with school districts to support teachers and students with educational resources,” said WITF Education Project Coordinator Jennifer Balda. “We are thrilled to enhance students’ learning experiences with engaging, hands-on, creative and fun educational kits.”

Through WITF’s Explore in the Classroom program, over 1,000 kindergartners received three free books and four activities, including scratch art, to enhance students’ learning experiences.

Each of the 1,069 students received an educational kit containing books, three interactive lesson plans, and four STEAM activities: scratch art; model magic; cloth face masks; and foam picture frames. The three books to help build their home libraries were: the bilingual English/Spanish edition of “Señorita Mariposa,” “It Looks Like Spilt Milk,” and “Ten Apples Up on Top!”  WITF also donated resources to each classroom, including a set of magnet tiles, washable markers, paper plates and masking tape. 

“I cannot share enough how completely impressed and overwhelmed by the quality and thought that WITF put into these materials! The materials are fantastic! I could mention every item,” said Ms. Biggs, kindergarten teacher from York City School District.

In 2016, WITF launched the Explore in the Classroom program as an approved Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program under the Education Improvement Organization category. The program is designed to enhance literacy and STEAM learning for young students enrolled in underserved school districts. This year, a new partnership with the School District of Lancaster expanded the program to serve four additional schools. Although WITF usually visits students and teachers in-person through the Explore in the Classroom program, they modified the outreach to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions.

“This has been such a tumultuous school year, all we could think about was how we could adapt the program to still help our young neighbors,” said WITF President and CEO Ron Hetrick. “We sincerely thank our corporate funders Orrstown Bank, PeoplesBank, Chubb, PPL Electric Utilities, York Water, Fulton Bank and Weis Markets. Without the generous funding they provide through the EITC program, we would not be able to support early learners through Explore in the Classroom.”

WITF estimates it has distributed over 13,000 brand-new books through the Explore in the Classroom program since its inception.

School districts and elementary schools that received Explore in the Classroom educational kits this year:

Harrisburg School District:

  • Foose Elementary
  • Scott Elementary
  • Melrose Elementary
  • Ben Franklin Elementary
  • Downey Elementary

York City School District:

  • Ferguson K-8
  • Devers K-8
  • Goode K-8
  • Davis K-8
  • Jackson K-8
  • Hannah Penn K-8
  • McKinley K-8

School District of Lancaster:

  • Buchanan Elementary
  • Fulton Elementary
  • Hamilton Elementary
  • Martin School

About WITF

WITF is a trusted provider of public media news and programming for approximately 2.3 million people in 19 counties of Central Pennsylvania, encouraging children and adults to Live Inspired®. A member station of PBS and NPR, WITF children’s programming includes public television on WITF TV, WITFK PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and the PBS KIDS app. Other services include an English and Spanish website for caregivers of early learners at ready.witf.org, an EITC program Explore in the Classroom and a variety of free family events that bring PBS KIDS Characters, STEAM activities and families together. WITF’s mission is to inspire lifelong learning by connecting people and communities of Pennsylvania through trusted journalism, thoughtful discussion and educational experiences. For more information, visit witf.org.