Slowing Down

Whenever I show video clips from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood at a professional development workshop, I often ask, “What messages did you hear in it?” Usually teachers talk about “what” Fred said or did. But recently a teacher talked about “how” Fred said and did things. What struck her was his slow pace, how comforting and comfortable it was -- and how...

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Staying Connected February 2016

There has been much talk lately about the issue of the digital divide and equity. Recently, The New York Times published an article,  Bridging a Digital Divide That Leaves Schoolchildren Behind, about how some school children are being left behind due to their lack of access to internet at home, which is needed to complete assignments. Kids are forced to stand outside...

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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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