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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Staying Connected December 2015

The end of the year always feels like a whirlwind. Between November and December, we've been busy with presentations at the annual National Association for the Education of Young Children Conference, Dr. Junlei Li's visit to China to provide professional development on the Simple Interactions approach, and connecting with our partners on a recent trip to the TEC Center at...

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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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Staying Connected: November 2015

I just got off of a call with Dr. Chip Donohue of the TEC Center at Erikson Institute, and Dr. Kathleen Paciga, our Early Career Research Fellow, regarding progress on our report on digital media and social emotional development. Though we are still early in the stages, I can see that this report is more relevant than ever as we...

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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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Staying Connected: October 2015

Throughout my life I have been very fortunate to be at the right place at the right time. I will say it again as I raise two young children and have the incredible good fortune to work at the Fred Rogers Center. You can't help but feel inspired by Fred's words and actions. Working with and meeting some of the most...

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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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Helping Kids “Get” Science

There's an intriguing sign at our Pittsburgh airport: "Kids who get science get jobs." When you think about it, "getting" science starts way back in the early years. Children are natural scientists. They're curious. They're fascinated by things in the world around them. And you have many ways to support their interest in the sciences -- through the activities you offer,...

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