Happy birthday Mister Rogers! Today, March 20, marks what would have been Fred Rogers 89th birthday. A champion of children’s television, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood set a tone and a standard for educating the preschool set as testify and advocate to congress the need for federal funding for PBS. I will never forget the gentle, thoughtful and relaxing transition he created for me and my siblings as we moved on from crazy afternoon cartoons into early evening with dad coming home and the need to settle down!
The Mr. Rogers routine was a fixture in my home growing up! From the minute he walked into his “house” he embedded routines and skills that us young ones were just beginning to learn. In each episode, he would carefully talk to us and guide us through what we were doing and why we were doing it, instilling our first sense of responsibility. He has always been a valued part of my early education and I even won a school wide “knowledge bowl” in junior high for knowing his first name! We also have kind of a weird connection- he passed away on my birthday, February 27.
Now as I stated, the basic focus of this television series was on children’s emotional development, and its success is based on a combination of several factors regarding the show’s philosophy as outlined on http://www.pbs.org/parents/rogers/series/philosophy.html :
I. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood encourages children to feel good about themselves.
II. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood helps children learn the skills needed for growing up.
III. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is made for children. Some adults feel the series is slow and simple.
IV. There are solid reasons behind what’s included in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood programs
V. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood encourages appreciation of and respect for others.
VI. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood promotes values that are universally important to children and families.
I feel there is no question as to why these ideals still have an impact today, as it did so many years ago. Without the solid emotional foundation, no true learning can occur. Children that do not feel good, do not do good work. It’s like in any school or workplace environment- it’s all about the culture, attitude and development. Fred Rogers, after changing into more comfortable clothes, patiently took us beyond the “Land of Make-Believe” and in to a deeper understanding of the world around us from the simple to the tragic. He was dedicated to discipline as “a kind of love” and setting the best example for all of us! He strove to be a positive impact in every child’s growth and made every day beautiful in the neighborhood!
PBS Kids has some activities planned to mark the occasion and celebrate more than just Fred Rogers’ birthday.
New Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood iOS stickers added to the free PBS KIDS sticker pack.
Share your favorite Fred Rogers memories on social media using the hashtags #ILovePBS and #BeMyNeighbor