To Reach Young Children, KLRN Also Teaches the Teachers

April 6, 2016

San Antonio Station Provides Professional Development

KLRN Super Saturdays

When childcare providers in San Antonio look for trusted guidance to help them get children on track for school, they turn to the same place they find high-quality educational programming for their young charges: their local public television station.

KLRN airs more than eight hours of PBS KIDS educational programming each weekday. The station is also a go-to source of professional development workshops for childcare providers in formal centers and informal family settings.

“By hosting high-quality trainings, we impact the quality of care and school readiness,” said Maricella Borroel, KLRN director of education. “When providers understand more about child development, they learn how to promote literacy, math, science, art and school readiness through everyday activities.”

In the past two years, KLRN’s Super Saturdays and Little Bites, Big Steps workshops have provided 27 free professional development sessions to thousands of childcare providers. These sessions provided more than 10,000 training hours for childcare providers, helping them fulfill their annual training requirements.  KLRN also provides follow-up mentor visits to help providers implement what they’ve learned and offer additional coaching. Because the free workshops fill quickly, educators are limited to one Super Saturday session per year.

“The information that these training sessions have provided has been invaluable,” said Sonia Oviedo, director of Creative Little Minds childcare center, whose staff members have attended KLRN trainings and benefited from mentor visits. “We always learn something new and refreshing that helps us learn new techniques to teach the children.”

In San Antonio, half the children start kindergarten without attending childcare or preschool. KLRN offers a series for family care providers and their young learners. Play & Learn is an 11-week program in which KLRN’s facilitators lead large group activities for parents, at-home informal providers and their young learners.

“The stations use common household materials to help adults understand what teaching tools they naturally have in the home,” Borroel said. The station integrates PBS KIDS programs through technology, introducing an “app of the day” and a PBS KIDS clip that ties directly into the day’s theme.

KLRN Play & Learn
In a Play & Learn activity center themed to Eric Carle’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, a child sorts toy bears in a muffin tin. Photo courtesy of KLRN.


KLRN’s professional development workshops and caregiver programs — like the children’s television programming, the resources for educators and many other educational programs — are integral to the station’s mission “to provide quality programs and services that advance education, art and culture, and community” in the Alamo region.

The current education programs build on a strong legacy of KLRN's early childhood programming. From 2005-2010, the station was one of 20 to receive special funding for community engagement programming from the U.S. Department of Education through a Ready To Learn grant, administered by PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Since then, KLRN has been awarded grants from numerous foundations to continue and expand its programs, which they offer free of charge. All the instructors are bilingual to better serve their community.

Two years ago, KLRN spearheaded the Alamo Coalition for Early Education to coordinate its services with other organizations serving San Antonio families and young children. The group has partnered with the United Way of San Antonio and the nonprofit community SA2020 initiative to develop resources for caregivers. They share an online calendar of training opportunities to coordinate efforts and prevent duplication of services at

“There were a lot of people offering training, but no consistency and fluidity among the agencies offering training,” Borroel said. “By coordinating its efforts with other agencies, KLRN is better able to identify and address the unmet needs of childcare providers and families with young children.”