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Summer Happenings with Education 


This article is from the May 2024 edition of SDPB Magazine. See past issues HERE.

Summer is just around the corner, but the learning doesn't stop there. SDPB's Education team works diligently to provide programs, resources, and events. With so much going on, we wanted to use this space to highlight the exciting endeavors the education is preparing for. Marcy Drew, SDPB’s Director of Education, shares about one of the most anticipated projects.

Buddy's Early Learning Expedition – Belle Fourche, SD

“Now that SDPB has launched a new logo and a fresh look,” shares Marcy, “the installation of community early learning spaces in Belle Fourche is underway. The goal is to provide families and the community with information on how young children learn and opportunities for them to engage in play and learning wherever they are. Up first is Belle Laundry, the only laundromat in town. In March 2024, SDPB transformed a small business corner into a cozy reading, relaxation, and learning space.

A bench near the window holds books appropriate for toddlers, preschoolers, and young readers. The mounted bookshelf safely displays even more books for families to enjoy together. The child-sized table and soft rug invite children to sit and explore. The bench seats in the space provide a comfortable place for adults to sit, read, and play while waiting for their laundry.

Our mascot, Buddy the Bird, finds a perch on the tree-shaped bookshelf. From here, he leads families to a treasure trove of educational games, programs, and interactive activities at The display materials serve as a roadmap, guiding families to these additional resources they can take wherever they go. Many of these resources have been aligned with the SD Early Learning Guidelines, ensuring they are research-based and developmentally appropriate.

Early feedback has been incredibly positive. The owner at Belle Laundry shared a photo of their granddaughter trying out the area as our first customer! The laundromat has a board for customer comments, and they have received some feedback about the new space from visitors. The comments on the board included much positive feedback from thankful participants.

Still to come are learning opportunities at Lueders Grocery Store and the Belle Fourche Public Library. SDPB will continue to work with partners in Belle Fourche to promote family engagement with Buddy's Early Learning Expedition!”

Dissection 101


Education Specialist, Steven Rokusek, also known as Science Steve, shares an exciting announcement regarding a popular series, Dissection 101.

"I am excited to announce plans to record a new episode of the popular Dissection 101 video series as part of a LEONARDO DA VINCI grant we received from WETA," shares Steven. "The ongoing series is a partnership with Dr. Dale Droge and Dakota State University. For this special episode, I will dissect the sheep brain with his son, Blase, a medical student at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. The dissection video will include identifying both structures and functions of the brain. We will also create a student checklist, photos, a quiz, and a dissection drawing sheet for educators."


Marcy says, "The education team provides outreach and professional development to families, caregivers, and educators to share the resources available from SDPB." We also want to use this space to reflect on and celebrate the triumphs and successes of the past year.

Jan Brett Book Tour – December 2023

SDPB, Black Hills Reads, Rapid City Public Library, and Early Learner SD hosted the Jan Brett Book Tour in Rapid City in December. Brett is a popular children's author and illustrator on her first tour in four years. While families waited to meet the author and get their books signed, they had hot chocolate and participated in activities hosted by SDPB and other organizations. Over 400 parents, children, and teachers expressed excitement about having a beloved author in Rapid City and thanked the hosts for a fun event.


Lakota Nations Education Conference – December 2023

SDPB participated in the annual Lakota Nations Education Conference as an exhibitor and featured speaker. SDPB presented on using media and technology intentionally with students and young children and had information on this topic and resources for all ages in the exhibit hall. Teachers, parents, grandparents, childcare providers, school board members, and many others from tribal communities across SD stopped by to learn about free, high-quality resources from SDPB. Dozens entered the drawing for the door prize by signing up for educational newsletters, and the winner was excited about receiving her books, supplies, and Elmo toaster.


Children's Day at the Capitol – January 2024

SDPB joined thirteen organizations at Children's Day at the Capitol, an opportunity to draw attention to issues affecting children and youth in South Dakota. Families, advocates, partners, legislators, staff, and the public stopped by the SDPB table to learn about resources from SDPB. Many of the legislative pages talked about their favorite PBS Kids shows and what they learned, concluding that their love of PBS Kids was why they were all so smart today.

Playtime with the Wombats – March 2024


SDPB was selected as one of only ten public media stations in the United States to participate in a research project called Playtime with the Wombats. The research seeks to measure children's computational thinking skills as they engage in play during either community events or at home with families. Computational thinking is a way of solving problems, expressing yourself, and accomplishing tasks using processes and ideas from computer science; it is also the curriculum focus of the PBS Kids show Work it Out, Wombats. The first community event was on March 9th and 10th at the Rapid City Public Library, with about 100 people stopping by to play. More Wombats! events are in the planning stages at the YFS Kids Fair, Beresford, and Belle Fourche.

Our education department has been busy for quite a year. We take pride in their leaps to provide educational resources and events to our state, educators, and children. Watch for future projects and visit for more information on the team's efforts.