Give a two-year-old an iPad and chances are, she’ll know how to use it. But that probably won’t be the case with a child from a low-income family.
That’s because, in 2013, the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project found that 46 percent of families with annual incomes under $30,000 lack Internet access. As a result, the kids in these families are left behind when it comes to knowledge about technology before they even start kindergarten.
So Florida native Estella Pyfrom had a bright idea. The retired teacher and guidance counselor devoted a chunk of her pension money to renovating a bus to make it a mobile technology center for low-income preschoolers. Packed with 17 computers, The Brilliant Bus makes stops throughout Palm Beach county, including a weekly visit to the low-income Head Start preschool Village Academy in Delray Beach, Florida. There, three-year-olds there are so happy to learn about math and ABCs through computer games, their principal Guarn Sims said, “They don’t want to get off.”
Pyfrom, the daughter of a migrant worker with a fourth-grade education, knows how important helping under-privileged kids can be. “Many underserved communities don’t have access to computers at home or internet,” she told Attiyya Anthony of the Sun Sentinel. “I’m excited that together we’re addressing that problem in a more aggressive way.”
Pyfrom has big plans to expand the program, offering it to four-year olds, and third and fourth graders. She’s also working on a plan to take 100 students to New Orleans this summer for education on computer programming and how to design apps as well.