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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Why Mister Rogers Is Still a Children’s Media Pioneer in 2014

Those of us raised on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” may not have known that Fred Rogers was a child development expert, a composer and lyricist, a TV producer, and an ordained minister. Actually, we didn’t need to know all that. Because what was apparent to every child who tuned in day after day to sing along with him or to watch the...

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Contrary to Claims, Not All Media Is Bad For Kids Under 12

It's been quite a week in the children's media world. While preparing for the week ahead last Sunday, I noticed an article on Huffington Post that was spreading virally through my friends on Facebook. The article was a call to ban all hand-held devices from children under the age of 12. Backing up the claim, the author cited a long...

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What Parents and Care Providers Need to Know When Choosing Tech For Young Children

Experts in media and young children agree; how the youngest children use technology—ideally, with caregivers and with an eye on their learning and development—is more important than how old they are when they start. It’s the latest in baby gear, and it’s got everybody talking. The Fisher-Price iPad Apptivity Seat is a reclining baby seat with a toy bar and a...

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Turn off the TV in the Background and Talk to Your Children

What parents can learn from the early science of brain development. We’ve been closely following Hillary Clinton’s new Too Small to Fail campaign. We were happy to see this helpful post from research associate Rey Fuentes, posted at Next Generation (one of the campaign’s partners) on, among other things, the importance of turning off the TV in the background. He emphasizes...

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Imaginary Play with Technology

At the Fred Rogers Center we’re very interested in how new media tools can be used to provide professional development support for professionals who work with young children. Our latest innovation, the Fred Rogers Center Early Learning Environment™ (Ele) is designed to do just that. The web-based support system uses new media tools to provide resources for parents, teachers, and home-based...

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How To Use Digital Media with Young Children

If you have a young learner in your house, you’re probably already gearing up for the fall, buying new backpacks and enjoying the last few weeks of summer. For those of you looking for advice on how to use digital media with young children at home or in school, we’ve collected this roundup of key messages from the past few...

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How Museums and Libraries Support Early Learning

Far too often, children, and particularly low-income children, show up for school already behind, lacking the cognitive and social-emotional tools in their toolbox that make them ready to learn. In this highly competitive world, where education increasingly means greater security, falling behind so early in life can lead to disastrous consequences. Educators do their best to bolster children’s skills once they...

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Can Media Help Create Family Conversation?

For very young children, talking is teaching. As we’ve written, the language-rich interaction between young children and their caregivers is most important for learning. Writing in the New York Times recently, Tina Rosenberg resurfaced some important research about the stark disparity that exists between the number of words lower income and higher income children hear at home, and the affect...

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