Educators’ Neighborhood is a place for educators to learn from and with each other inspired by the life and work of Fred Rogers. We study episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, read from the Fred Rogers Center archive, and generate new ideas together connected to our daily practice with young children.
How has Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood impacted your teaching?
“I think Fred Rogers has made me more thoughtful because every child is unique and sometimes it’s not always easy to remember that when you’re in the middle of 100 things, and this is due, and this is due, and everything. And the songs are so important to me. I love you just the way you are. It’s You I Like… I love that one. I love it. I read something this year… a coach was observing a teacher who called roll for students and the teacher would say, “I see you, [name].” So, I started to do that. I call the name, they say “here,” and I say, “I see you, [name].” They thought it was funny. But one day I didn’t say it, and someone asked, “Don’t you see me?” Yes, I see you. It is important for me to say that: I see you. I like you just the way you are. The episodes have made me more cognizant that I need to see them just for who they are.”
-Katy Carroll, Kindergarten Teacher, Pittsburgh Faison
What would you say to teachers who say they don’t have time to show MRN in their classroom?
“I would say that in my experience you don’t NOT have time to show Mister Rogers. It’s like a meditation for your heart. As a teacher, you can always get back to the rubric or the performance-based assessment. Showing MRN is a way to bring community together. For students to be kind to themselves. Give themselves compassion. Not a space to be right or wrong. Not a push to have an academic thing done. Sometimes that’s not the most important thing. It’s like me not telling my daughter “I love you” at night, I would never NOT have time to do that. It’s like that. Mister Rogers is something I use to get into that heart space.”
-Cindy Patterson, First Grade teacher, Pittsburgh Dilworth
What is something you’ve learned in your readings from the FRC archives?
“Well, I guess everything that I’m learning behind the scenes is new. Because I only saw Mister Rogers from my childhood perspective before now. So learning things as an adult is amazing. That he wrote his own scripts. To be in the archive and see all of the real documents that he wrote and hear these amazing pieces of artwork, these episodes on TV, and we still play these episodes and they’re still relatable. Now days, there are so many people putting their hands on scripts when something is made for TV, but for him, yes he had help, but it was pretty much him doing it, writing it all.”
-Erica Nemsak, Early Learning Coordinator, Waynesboro Area School District
Below please find full interviews with the ten educators who were part of our Educators’ Neighborhood Pilot Learning Community 2019-20. They discuss why they believe that Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood matters for their students and themselves, now more than ever. Enjoy!
Educators’ Neighborhood interviews are conducted and transcribed by Melissa A. Butler.
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Due to significant interest from educators across the US, we will have two Educators’ Neighborhood Learning Communities during the 2020-21 school year… a Local Learning Community and an Online Learning Community Pilot. All applicants have been notified and we will begin our learning together in August 2020.
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