Jeannine Harvey Does the ABC’s Really Well With PBSParents.org
A few years ago, when my son was three and really ready to start learning his ABC's but really not ready socially to go to preschool, I decided to teach him at home. I relied heavily on two things: curriculum and supplies purchased at my favorite local childhood education supply store, Country Loft, and PBSParents.org. The former gave me ideas on ways to teach, but more importantly the latter gave me the bigger picture, the understanding of my child's development that was crucial to having appropriate expectations. It taught me how to teach my son, and that teaching was successful. He learned quickly, and continues to learn at or above grade level.
Using PBS' resources was nothing new to me; I had grown up watching it and my husband and I still watch it almost exclusively. So when I had the chance to talk with Jeannine Harvey, Associate Director of PBS KIDS Marketing and Communications, I was so excited. It was like talking with a writer of Glee. As a social media strategist, Jeannine works with a small team of promotion professionals overseeing PBS' efforts in social media, digital marketing and new media strategy. She manages PBS KIDS communities including Facebook and Twitter and overseas community outreach and development for PBS KIDS and PBS Parents websites. Jeannine has produced content for PBS, PBS Parents and PBS KIDS including behind-the-scenes clips and talent interviews. She has a strong network of bloggers, friends on Facebook, and followers on Twitter, whose interests and sites correlate with the mission of PBSParents, which is to provide early childhood development information and valuable educational resources for parents and caregivers.
"The greatest thing about the online community," Jeannine says, "is that you can share common interests with others so easily. I don't feel like I need to promote what we're doing, per se; I just know what [my online friends] are going through and interested in because of the relationships I have with these women." Indeed, the power of what PBSParents' is doing speaks for itself, with statistics like these:
- PBS Kids' programs has earned more prestigious awards for 13 consecutive years than any other broadcast or cable network, earning 15 Daytime Emmy Awards in 2010.
- PBSKids.org is the #1 kids entertainment site for free streamed videos, based on unique viewers and the number of videos viewed. Kids watched each video, on average, 10 minutes longer the monthly average for other kids' sites.
- PBSKids.org attracts more than 8.7 million unique visitors monthly, with a 77% repeat visitor rate.
- In 2010, a study found that one of their iPhone apps improved vocabulary as much as 31% in children ages 3 to 7.
And, as amazing as PBSParents is, it will get even better as they re-launch it later this year with a bigger community, bigger resources, and better navigation tools, and as they launch a new web series in late winter.
All this being said, though, I wanted to know how her role as a mother of two fits in with her role at PBS. I mean, doing what she does must take a lot of time, maybe even take away from time spent with her two girls. "I'm a mom first," Jeannine state. "What I am trying to do, hopefully somewhat successfully, is to raise two thoughtful, polite, caring daughters to be strong, kind, hardworking, empowered women. At work, I try (I believe with some success) to build and nurture PBS’ communities around those same core ideals of caring and thoughtfulness. My children see that I care about what I do, that I enjoy my work and am passionate about PBS’ content and resources."
"Cherish each day with your children," is what she advises other busy moms. Jeannine Harvey is one woman who speaks on good authority.