St. Louis County Library provides tablet computers to children in Hancock Place School District, Ritenour


St. Louis County Library staff member E King gets the devices charged and set up for families.

St. Louis County Library is providing hundreds of tablet computers to two local school districts to help families with young children keep learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each of the 221 PBS Kids Playtime Pads comes pre-loaded with PBS content, including video clips, songs, educational games and apps. Families do not need internet access to use the Playtime Pads.

The PBS Playtime Pads the St. Louis County Library is giving to local students.

The devices will be checked out to the Hancock Place and Ritenour school districts. Each district will provide them to eligible families in the Early Childhood Centers.

Hancock Place Elementary School, 9101 S. Broadway, Lemay, 63125, will distribute its supply of Playtime Pads in the school parking lot from 9-10:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 29.

Ritenour will distribute its devices at a later date.

Many families in the region are struggling to keep children engaged and learning during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly households with no internet access. The Playtime Pads provide accessible educational content without an internet connection.

All branches of the St. Louis County Library are currently closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, as are all area school districts including Hancock and Ritenour.

The library is part of the COVID-19 Regional Response Team. As the Lead Agency for Remote Learning and Technology on the team, the library has worked with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, area superintendents and educators, community partners and the Nine Network to identify new ways to assist area families during this challenging time.

St. Louis County Library Director Kristen Sorth said in a news release, “We are so thankful to the St. Louis County Library Foundation for supporting our efforts to assist area children while school is closed due to COVID-19. We want to thank the Nine Network for being such a fantastic community partner as well as Ritenour and Hancock Place School Districts for piloting these devices with young learners at their early childhood centers. We know this is a challenging time for area families.  St. Louis County Library is providing the PBS Playtime pads to assist our youngest learners with staying on track for kindergarten.”

Dr. Tim McInnis, assistant superintendent of schools, said, “The Hancock Place School District is extremely fortunate to have such outstanding educational partners in the Nine Network of Public Media and the St. Louis County Library. We are grateful to our partners for reaching out to the families of our youngest learners during this challenging time and providing the PBS Playtime Pads as a resource that all of our families can use, regardless of internet access. Putting the devices into the hands of these little ones, will arguably be their first opportunity to experience the joy of learning in this manner.” 

Dr. Mike LaChance, Ritenour School District’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said, “Ritenour students at every level continue to reap the rewards of St. Louis County Library’s generosity when it comes to resources that enhance their learning. The library’s donation of the Playtime Pads will provide our incoming kindergartners from the Ritenour School for Early Childhood Education and our English learner preschoolers a fun and meaningful way to enhance their kindergarten readiness skills over the summer.”

The St. Louis County Library Foundation provided funding for the Playtime Pads as part of their COVID-19 response support, which also includes emergency diaper and meal distribution at several St. Louis County Library branches, including the Weber Road Library in Affton that would serve Hancock families.