This Summer, a Revised Mission for the Fred Rogers Center and for This Blog

ECS_copy_2-300x252This spring we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Fred Rogers Center. And we’ve been busy. In May we honored musician Yo-Yo Ma as the first recipient of the Fred Rogers Legacy Award. In June we hosted educators, media developers, and children’s media researchers from around the country for our biennial Fred Forward Conference, and we announced our newest cohort of Early Career Fellows.

We also brought a revised mission statement to our Advisory Council. Although we’ll still include the potential of media for early learning in our work, we felt that we must place our core beliefs within a specific developmental framework—one that prioritizes human connection. So staying true to the vision of Fred Rogers, our new mission states, “We help children grow as confident, competent, and caring human beings.”

With this new mission, we plan to shift the direction of this blog. In addition to focusing on developmentally appropriate media use for young children, we hope to write more broadly about nurturing children’s social and emotional development. We will focus on the guiding principles of Fred’s lifework and what he has taught us about the importance of human connection.

Fred believed that whether we are parents, educators, media creators, or neighbors, each of us has unique and enormous potential to nourish children’s lives with positive interactions. So we’ll be writing for you—neighbors, teachers, and parents who, we believe, have the most power to help young children develop to their fullest potential.

But we have to admit, we had some help with this work. Second graders at the Environmental Charter School at Frick Park in Pittsburgh analyzed our draft mission statement and helped us figure out what was essential to include.

I think Fred would agree. The children say it better than we ever could:

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