"As long as we keep children at the heart of this and learning at the center, and we continue to evolve our practices in collaboration with partners – preschool partners, research partners – I think we can have confidence that we will build out a new age for public media, for learning with technology. This is what we do and why we do it."
- Christine Zanchi, Executive Producer, Gracie & Friends®
GBH Kids has pioneered children's educational media for decades. First 8 Studios® at GBH Kids is dedicated to carrying this pioneering spirit into the digital, mobile world, building and researching how media can support the healthy development of children from birth through age 8. In everything we do, we keep children at the heart and learning at the center.
We are constantly evolving our practices to build out a new age for public media and a research base and for early learning with technology. Collaborative, iterative, and research-based design serves as the foundation of our work. So does an ongoing commitment to the teachers, parents, and children we have worked with, and continue to work with, to give them a voice in the digital media development process. The countless hours we've spent with them have shaped our work beyond measure. You'll find evidence of those little fingerprints and big hearts throughout each FIrst 8 Studios at GBH Kids experience.
Overview of Early Math with Gracie & Friends®
Early Math with Gracie & Friends began as a design-based research project called Next Generation Preschool Math, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, to explore the extent to which tablet technology and apps could help children in preschool classrooms increase their mathematics knowledge in a developmentally appropriate way. The efforts culminated in a rigorous randomized controlled trial (RCT) study that showed significant learning for children who used the app-infused curriculum supplement. Our Gracie & Friends work has expanded to include researching and developing resources for home and classroom across a variety of mathematics topics, with an added focus of making technology a social experience.
Overview of Early Science with Nico & Nor®
Early Science with Nico & Nor built on our findings about tablet technology and young children, but researched how digital journals and gamified simulations could promote young children's engagement in science practices and understanding of science concepts through a project called Next Generation Preschool Science, which was funded by the National Science Foundation. The efforts culminated in a rigorous randomized controlled trial (RCT) study that showed significant learning for children who used the app-infused curriculum supplement. Our Nico & Nor work has expanded to include researching and developing resources for home and classroom, in both English and Spanish, that integrate mathematics learning and engineering practices into the science of plants, ramps, and shadows.
Overview of Small Moments, Big Impact®
Having a baby comes with many questions and emotions. Our team collaborated with Boston Medical Center health care providers and with mothers to create an app to be used during a baby's first six months. The app is not for information about common health questions. Instead, it focuses on parents' relationships with their babies and the feelings of love, stress, fatigue, frustration, and hope — all of which are part of being a parent. Twenty-four mothers share their stories and experiences. Their stories are joined by insights and advice from pediatricians and wellness experts, all with the goal of supporting mothers as they connect with their babies during the first six months. The app allows mothers to do some self-reflection, express their thoughts and feelings, and make movies with their babies to have memories forever. Through this journey, we see that even small moments with your baby can have a big impact.