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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Open-Ended Questions – “What Do You Think?”

I came back from this month's NAEYC Professional Development Institute with a renewed appreciation for open-ended questions, after hearing a number of speakers emphasizing them in all kinds of situations -- for story time, for STEM concepts, and for social-emotional development. There's a real concern that teaching has become "asking a question so you can get the right answer." But think about...

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Staying Connected: June 2015

Despite classes being out, June has been a remarkably busy month for us. Our Center's Co-Director, Dr. Junlei Li, spent the early part of this month in China building a partnership with the China Welfare Institute at the Soong Ching Ling Child Development Center. Through this collaboration, Junlei will integrate his Simple Interactions approach to support child development in urban and rural China. The programmatic work will...

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Staying Connected: May 2015

As you take a deep dive into the Fred Rogers Archive, one thing becomes apparent—the power of human connection was very important to Fred. Fred Rogers Center Co-director Junlei Li, Ph.D., has written about the importance of relationships in the past, and has partnered with organizations in Pittsburgh to create a professional development tool to identify simple interactions and grow them...

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Creativity: Why it’s so important

I just learned something fascinating about creativity. Creativity is a much better predictor of achievement in life than IQ! That's come out of the follow-up research of thousands of children who have taken the Torrence Creativity Test since 1958.  But research also shows us that since 1984, children's creativity scores have dramatically decreased. That's a major concern. But we in early...

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