Rodney Raccoon: Special Delivery follows Rodney and friends as they explore the wonders of the Dome-A-Roma Science Museum. They must find clues hidden through the woods, under the sea, and in the Arctic dome that will lead them to their final destination. The book is currently available for purchase on the WayOut Kids website, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.
Graduate Tacoma Partner and member of the Early Learning & Reading Network, WayOut Kids has reached over fifteen million children since establishing in 2006 through community outreach and the development of its Rodney Raccoon character. Jerome “JD” Davis, music producer and founder, says that it began with a learning gap he and others in the community saw between students of color and their peers. He recalls public outcry that kids weren’t learning or recalling information at the same rate.
“It was just the delivery of the message that needed to change,” explains JD. “We took some of the same lessons that needed to be learned, put it to music and made it fun. We like to call it edu-tainment.
The result was Elementary Hip Hop, Rodney Raccoon’s debut educational DVD featuring ABCs and 123s in English and Spanish. The DVD soon caught the attention of Tacoma Public Schools, which began implementing the DVD and its curriculum into its Early Childhood Education and Assistance Programs for preschoolers.
WayOut Kids has since developed DVDs, music, coloring books, curriculum, video games, and now a book as an extension of the Rodney Raccoon character. In other words, JD has successfully developed a model that educates and entertains youth through multimedia.
“Education is our focus,” JD emphasizes. “Whether it’s encouraging kids to read, environmental education, technology, math. Our mission is to teach through music.”
WayOut Kids partnered with Multicare for their next project, Fun with Fitness, which highlighted the importance of health and fitness. In 2012, they launched the Rodney Goes Green program in partnership with the Russell Family Foundation and others. The program focuses on the effects of polluted runoff in the Puget Sound.
Since it’s fruition, JD and WayOut Kids have solidified their brand in the community and have established strong connections with local businesses, non-profit organizations, the school district, and more.
“We call Rodney Raccoon a champion for education,” says JD. “When kids see him, we want them to see that education is fun. And when they get excited to see him, we look at it as the kids are getting excited about education.”
Visit wayoutkids.com to find out how you can bring Rodney Raccoon to kids you serve or to learn more about how Rodney Raccoon is putting fun into education. To learn more about Graduate Tacoma’s Early Learning & Reading Network, join us for Network meetings at 12:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month or visit graduatetacoma.org/earlylearning.