OTTUMWA — Iowa Public Television is celebrating its 45-year anniversary this year by helping communities like Ottumwa educate young children before they get into a school setting.
One of the programs they are using to help reach out to children is by bringing the main character from the PBS cartoon Martha Speaks to 25 different communities across Iowa.
“We are really focusing on helping young children get ready for school, stay ready for school and really be successful in school,” Trista Peitzman of IPTV’s education department said. “We are really focusing on early literacy and math skills.”
The show is based on Martha, a dog that learns to talk, and is designed to help teach 20 words per episode to children who are watching.
Friday morning, children at the Ottumwa Public Library’s Preschool Story Time were treated to a visit from Martha, which was actually Peitzman dressed in a fantastic Martha costume, and a book named Not Afraid of Dogs.
When Peitzman walked into the room dressed as Martha, the children’s eyes got big with surprise, and all of them ran over for a hug and a quick picture.
After the children’s excitement leveled off some, Peitzman got out of her costume and got it ready for their next stop at the McCarroll Early Childhood Center.
“It’s a great, fun day,” she said.
Through the IPTV program, the Early Childhood Center was also given 200 free books, a new bookcase and a new TV so they can watch Martha Speaks and other educational shows.
— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh