PC Kidz launches children into cyber world
BEAUMONT, TX - September 2, 2007 - Four-year-olds Lauren Eaves, Mackenzie LeBlanc and Maliyah Morales and 3-year-old Addison Reynard spent their Friday morning in front of a computer instead of outside on the playground with their classmates at Lisa's Little Folks.
The four girls are students in the Navigators class of PC Kidz of Southeast Texas - a Texas-based children's computer education company that teaches preschool and elementary school children basic computer skills at different sites throughout Hardin, Jefferson and Orange counties.
"It was fun," Maliyah said. "We were trying to do some games and had turns on the keyboard."
PC Kidz, LLC is a 40-week program that teaches its students something new each week starting with basic skills like how to take care of the computer.
The corporation has been around since 2001, but the first classes in Southeast Texas officially start Tuesday.
"The computer encompasses everything we do," area manager Hope Reynard said. "When children go to school they know their ABCs, they know how to write their name. Now, they have to know that plus basic computer skills."
Reynard and four other instructors teach a small group of children for 30 minutes one day a week - 20 minutes of instruction and 10 minutes of games.
"I'm really excited about it and parents are excited," said Lisa Pedersen, owner of Lisa's Little Folks. "What sold me on this program was that it has a curriculum. They're teaching them more dynamics of how to use a computer, that's what I really liked about it."
Reynard, a mother of two, said the biggest difference between PC Kidz and its competition not only is the fact that her program has a curriculum but also that the small classes teach children how to work as a team, how to handle emotions and how to take directions.
"They're encouraging each other," she says. "When one doesn't know an answer another one chimes in. They're learning from each other."
A former legal assistant, Reynard said she was looking for something to do part time and knew she wanted to work with children. She thought a computer program sounded like a good idea, but she says none of the ones she came across had a curriculum.
She stumbled upon PC Kidz and says she thought it seemed perfect for what she wanted to do.
Reynard's classes are structured and children aren't just playing games but are learning for the first 20 minutes of class. That's reinforced through games for the last 10 minutes of class.
The same teacher teaches the class for the full 40 weeks, something Pederson praises. "They need to see the same face every time," she says.
Reynard said instructors send progress reports home with students after every class so parents know what their child learned and what games they played.
"It's absolutely amazing," Pedersen said. "This is going to be wonderful for Beaumont."