The Toothpaste Theory of Child Development

Have you ever studied the label on a tube of toothpaste? A good number of years ago, out of sheer boredom, I picked up the tube while supervising my daughters as they brushed their teeth for the proverbial and interminable “two minutes.” The label reads: “Active ingredient: sodium fluoride.” Its function: cavity prevention. And just below that was a list of...

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What Would Fred Rogers Do?

“What would Mister Rogers do?” I asked myself, over and over again, as I stared ineptly at a classroom full of unruly eighth graders barely paying attention to anything I was teaching. It was 2003, and the fact I had just received my doctorate in child psychology merely accentuated the irony. It was also the year Fred Rogers passed away. Having...

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Why Our Early Childhood Educators Deserve Better

Yvonne Atkinson knows toddlers. She understands where they’re at developmentally, how to cultivate their listening skills, and when they just need some unstructured playtime. When Kidsburgh asked Pittsburgh families to identify five exceptional early childhood educators, Atkinson—programs manager at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh—came out on top. No surprise, given her 45 years of experience as a beloved teacher. Fred Rogers...

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With App, Kids Can Communicate Through Art

“Early career” is not a phrase you’d readily apply to an educator whose work has brought him to locales as diverse as Chicago, Florida, and New Zealand, and who’s authored one book, with another one in the works. But Brian Puerling, the director of education technology at Chicago’s Catherine Cook School, has done all of the above. At age 32,...

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The Role of Rigor in Kindergarten

It seems every week, there’s another story about the benefits of early education or how investing in high-quality early childhood programs pays off. And President Obama’s recent 2016 budget proposal included a 10-year, $75 billion universal preschool request. But as a recent story in Education Week explained, there’s no real consensus on what a regular day in a kindergarten classroom should...

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Parents Boost Their Preschoolers’ Literacy Skills With Texted Tips

What’s the most cost-effective way to prepare toddlers for school? Turns out it might involve texting parents. A new study by Stanford researchers confirms what early studies were showing: Texting parents early childhood learning tips and reminders boosts preschoolers’ literacy skills. And it costs approximately $1 per family. Research has repeatedly found that kindergartners from low-income families are already behind their...

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Can Touchscreen Technology Teach Preschoolers About Feelings?

James Alex Bonus and Alanna Peebles have spent hours watching and analyzing children’s TV shows. Graduate students in communication science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Bonus and Peebles are interested in how children ages 3 to 5 understand narrative. “When we make these shows for kids, there’s a lot of mental obstacles for them that we might not recognize,” Bonus said. Research...

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Can An App Help Teach Empathy and Mindfulness?

Anna Ly, one of the Fred Rogers Center’s Early Career Fellows, was working on her graduate degree at Stanford when a presentation from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center gave her a eureka moment. The center presented a prototype of a videoconferencing app they created with the Nokia Research Center called Story Visit, which lets far away parents or grandparents read “Sesame...

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