Author: Hedda Sharapan

Reflective thoughts for the New Year

Here we are at the beginning of the year when we’re “looking ahead,” wondering what this new year will bring. It seems kind of ironic, but "looking back" can help us with our journey ahead. There’s even a name for that in early childhood -- reflective teaching. As early childhood professionals, we’re encouraged to be reflective – to look back on what worked...

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The Power of Puppet Play – It’s not just Make-Believe

The new Mister Rogers sculpture that was recently unveiled at Rollins College is a remarkably fit tribute to Fred. I was delighted to see that the sculptor Paul Day decided to depict Fred with his Daniel puppet talking with children. He really understood that the essence of Fred’s work was about communicating with children and how much Fred learned about...

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Don’t Forget The Fun

In the midst of all we’ve been going through in this pandemic time, I’ve thought about something that Helen Ross, a noted children and family mental health specialist, told Fred. As he was working on Neighborhood scripts which often dealt with serious childhood concerns like feeling jealous, angry or afraid, she reminded him, "Don't forget the fun." What great advice...

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CREATIVITY – Why it’s so important

I remember being amazed to hear that creativity is a much better predictor of achievement in life than IQ. That came out of the research of thousands of children followed for decades after taking the Torrance Creativity Test. We’ve certainly seen how important creativity is this past year. Covid restrictions have forced us all to find new and innovative ways to...

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Eric Carle – One of our favorite “neighbors”

I wonder if you, too, heard the sad news a few weeks ago about the death of Eric Carle, one of America’s most beloved children’s author-illustrators. Most early childhood professionals know him through his classic children’s books, like The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?  We were fortunate to get to know Eric Carle as a “neighbor” - and to...

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Slowing Down

Whenever people have asked me what Fred Rogers would say about how to help children through the pandemic, I’ve turned the question around and asked what they might take from his messages. In a sense, I think that’s what Fred hoped, that each of us would take from his work what’s most meaningful for our own lives. That’s why, whenever I’ve...

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Messages in the Routines

During these not-so-normal pandemic times, many of us have found that routines help us feel more comfortable. They give us some predictable structure in our lives. Daily routines are even more important for children. Fred understood that, and he intentionally structured each program with predictable routines -- opening with his song and changing into his sweater and sneakers, using the Trolley...

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