“For almost 100 years, The Walt Disney Company has captivated generations of children through experiences that not only entertain, but inspire them to explore, create and imagine,” said Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer, The Walt Disney Company. “We are proud to help expand access to early childhood education in America through a $55 million in-kind donation—including hundreds of thousands of apps from our Publishing division’s newest brand, Disney Imagicademy.”

As part of the three-year commitment, Disney will provide $5 million in Disney Imagicademy apps to First Book and other non-profit organizations, and $50 million in books to help foster a love of reading in young children from low-income families. In addition, Disney will provide $1 million in funding to First Book to spread the magic of storytelling and help children in need gain access to critical resources around the country.

“We’ve worked hard to bring these types of learning tools to children in need, and now thanks to Disney and the strength of our network, Disney Imagicademy is accessible for free to kids in need throughout the country the same day it is available to the general public,” said Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book. “Disney’s in-kind donation over the next three years is First Book’s largest gift targeting early childhood programs.”

First Book research shows that the after-school programs, shelters and clinics, museums, libraries, Head Start classrooms and others that make up the First Book Network are in need of web-based tools and interactive learning programs that help children read, learn and achieve, both inside and outside of school. Through First Book, the first two Disney Imagicademy apps – Mickey’s Magical Math World and Disney Imagicademy Parents – will be available for free through the First Book Marketplace (www.fbmarketplace.org) for teachers and educators that serve children from low-income families at the same time these products become available to the general public.

First Book research also shows that tools used to encourage family engagement in the learning process are of primary need among their network of over 150,000 educators and nonprofits nationwide. As parents are an ever-important part of successful learning, teachers and educators will have the opportunity to share free download codes with the families of the children they serve, allowing families to bring lessons home and be more involved and engaged in their child’s learning.

Making learning a family experience is also reinforced by Disney Imagicademy Parents, a companion app especially designed for parents that connects with and extends their children’s learning experience. The Parents app provides them with a wealth of real-time updates about their children’s progress and the ability to reward accomplishments digitally and remotely.

Mickey’s Magical Math World, the first app available through the First Book Marketplace, is an iPad-exclusive app that features five robust math-focused activities in one app that engages children through creativity, customization and learning by doing. Each in-app experience invites children to explore, create, and discover, while practicing key early math concepts, including counting forward and backward, sort and classify, skip count, numbers and shapes recognition, reason and logic, and more.

Mickey’s Magical Math World and Disney Imagicademy Parents will be available on December 11 on the Apple App Store. For additional Disney Imagicademy mobile apps updates and information, visit www.DisneyImagicademy.com, Facebook at Facebook.com/disneyimagicademy and Twitter at @Imagicademy.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura http://twitter.com/eSN_Laura