January 2016

A “Little and Big” Start to the New Year

The arrival of the new year often sets off a flurry of resolutions as though life will be miraculously different when the clock strikes midnight. Unless you are Cinderella, this moment is far less transformational. Lose weight. Check. Get in shape. Check. Save more for retirement. Check. Be a better friend. Check. Often, these goals are so fixated on the outer...

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The Power of Puppet Play–It’s Not Just Make-Believe

When most people think of Fred Rogers' puppets, they think about his Neighborhood of Make-Believe stories. But there's another way he used puppets--a way that can help us learn about children's thoughts, feelings and concerns. Fred was always enamored with puppets, so when he was a graduate student in Child Development, they were a natural tool for him to use with...

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The Simple Interactions That Make Learning Possible (Part Three)

Part Three: Technology that enriches, rather than replaces, human interactions Sometimes an innovative learning idea will go beyond a one-time exposure or a one-afternoon experience. It can become embedded within the extended and intimate relationships children have already formed with the adults near them. The “Baby Promise” project, funded through a Spark award from The Sprout Fund, was delivered through a...

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The Simple Interactions That Make Learning Possible (Part Two)

What makes us try new things, especially when new things do not come easily? What makes us stick with challenges when we can see that others appear better and faster? Persistence, or grit, or stick-to-it-ness develops in us through enriching interactions with those near us, especially when we are trying, failing, and struggling. Fred Rogers often talked about the importance of...

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The Simple Interactions That Make Learning Possible

For many years, on the desk of Pittsburgh’s favorite neighbor, Fred Rogers, visitors would spot a framed piece of calligraphy of the famous theme from the children’s novel “The Little Prince” that read, “What is essential is invisible to the eye.” Fred Rogers, with his gentle persistence and deliberate approach, tried to find and articulate for children and families what...

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The Power of Social Networks

I want to tell you something: I wasn’t always in favor of technology and media in early education, and I still am skeptical about much of the media itself and many of its applications in children’s earliest experiences. I know many of you are, too. You worry about how technology and media are changing the fabric of childhood—and with good...

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