Author: Hedda Sharapan

Inspiring Us to Be Playful with Art

I just came back from the Professional Development Institute of NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children). What a great place to learn new ideas, have some “old” ideas confirmed, and connect with new friends and old friends! And sometimes, if you’re lucky, you come away from a session being so inspired by someone that you want to...

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Plant One Seed — Grow Two Lessons

Welcome, springtime! It’s the “growing season” and a time when many teachers help children grow plants from seeds. That’s a great science lesson because children can see what a plant needs to grow – soil, water, light. But I’ve learned from Fred that there’s another lesson here, too, one that’s harder to see and harder to learn. That’s the lesson about...

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Slowing Down

Whenever I show video clips from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood at a professional development workshop, I often ask, “What messages did you hear in it?” Usually teachers talk about “what” Fred said or did. But recently a teacher talked about “how” Fred said and did things. What struck her was his slow pace, how comforting and comfortable it was -- and how...

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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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Thinking Outside the Box — Thanks to Eric Carle

At this gift-giving time of the year, we usually think about presents that come in a box. But for this newsletter, I wanted to give you a "gift" of one of our favorite Neighborhood videos that has a great example of thinking "outside the box."  It's Fred's visit with author-illustrator Eric Carle, who has given us such wonderful books as The...

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Reflecting on Fred’s First NAEYC Keynote

As I'm getting ready to attend the Annual Conference of NAEYC (the National Association for the Education of Young Children), I've been thinking about the first time I was there. It was 1983, and not only was I presenting my first workshop at a national conference, but I also had the privilege of watching Fred inspire an audience of thousands...

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Meta-Cognition: The Follow-Up Questions

I wonder if you've heard of "meta-cognition"? It's a relatively new concept in education, and it literally means "thinking beyond" or "thinking about what you're thinking." People are just now starting to talk about it in early childhood, but I'll bet you've been encouraging it without realizing it. The focus in education used to be about asking questions to get children...

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Strengthening Social Skills

"Kindergarten Social Skills Hold Key to Success." That was the headline for a recent USA Today article about a 20-year study published in the American Journal of Public Health which followed more than 750 children. The researchers found that kindergarteners with the highest scores on "social competence" were more likely to graduate high school on time, earn a college degree and hold full-time jobs. Think about all the time and energy you...

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