Thank you, Mister Rogers
For over 30 years, Fred Rogers entered the family rooms of preschool children across the nation to say, “It’s you I like.” Using songs, puppets, and stories, Rogers taught children how to work through what he called, “the inner drama of childhood.” Words to songs like, What Do You Do with the Mad that You Feel? provided alternative positive behavior choices for the daily challenges children face.
He spent years studying child development, adapting his speech to speak more slowly and calmly for the benefit of the children in his viewing audience. Quietly battling social issues of the time, Rogers worked diligently to demonstrate love and care for all people. Preschoolers learned genuine compassion as Rogers welcomed children and adults of various ethnicities and abilities engaging in respectful interactions and ending each episode assuring children of their value, not for what they have or how they look, but for who they are on the inside. He wanted children to learn that “feelings are mentionable and manageable.” Rogers believed children were worth the daily commitment returning episode after episode, season after season with the same message of compassion and genuine care permeating each interaction.
Early childhood education practices were impacted by Roger’s focus on social problem-solving strategies and kindness. At Stepping Stone School, we focus on daily goals of self-regulation, working together with families to teach children the vocabulary of emotions and strategies for governing them. Daily, we extend our arms welcoming children into our classroom communities where we experience the joy of learning and growing together, where we overcome daily challenges together, and we learn to be compassionate citizens together.
Thank you, Mister Rogers.