September 2016
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Welcome back to the Fred Rogers Center Newsletter as we return from our summer hiatus. Over the past two weeks the Center has been abuzz, welcoming more than 100 students for course work, research, and scholarship opportunities.

It was a busy summer with many opportunities to connect with providers and policy makers. Dr. Junlei Li provided the plenary speech at the 2016 early childhood system building national meeting of the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) National Learning Network in New Orleans. Over one thousand attendees representing early childhood systems across each of the 50 states plus U.S. Territories participated in the conference.  
Dr. Li’s presentation blended together Fred Rogers’ message about the simple and deep importance of “human relationships” and the Center’s “Simple Interactions” initiative with the current context of early childhood research and system building. The presentation was so well received that it was met with a standing ovation. It served as a reminder to attendees about what is essential in our daily work serving children, and was a launch point for taking Fred’s legacy forward in “concrete, actionable, and systematic ways.” It also demonstrated the continuing relevance of Fred’s words. They have as much impact today as they did 30 years ago.
I would also like to extend hearty congratulations to Fred Rogers Advisor Dr. Chip Donohue, who just released his new book, Family Engagement in the Digital Age: Early Childhood Educators as Media Mentors. The book explores how technology can empower and engage parents, caregivers and families, and includes chapters written by the Center’s Dr. Junlei Li and Jeremy Boyle, M.F.A. as well as Fred Rogers Center Advisor Michael Rich, M.D., M.P.H.
And speaking of FRC Advisor Dr. Michael Rich from the Center on Media and Child Health, he was recently interviewed by the Verge about popular press headlines concerning technology use with children. His balanced and logical approach to complex issues is refreshing when there are so many voices trying to scare parents. I encourage you read the article if you have a moment.
May your autumn be filled with color.


Rick Fernandes


Academic Hood Quilt

Back to School

Do you know a child who has just started his or her first year of school? There are so many different stories and pictures on social media that might inspire us to think back on how we felt when we started school. Fred Rogers knew that both parents and children could be worried about the start of school. He so strongly felt that those emotions needed to be addressed that the very first theme week of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was about starting school. Accompanying that theme week were public service announcements in which Fred offered advice to parents and children. For parents he spoke about making the transition from home to school easier by, for instance, giving the child a picture of the family to keep with him or her throughout the day. When speaking to children he said that they could talk with grownups about their anxieties and concerns. Caring and communication seem to be the keys, according to Fred, to make the start of the school year a little bit easier.    



The Day of Giving is tomorrow. The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County along with their affiliate, The Pittsburgh Foundation, is sponsoring the Day of Giving on Wednesday, September 21, 2016. Any gift of $25 or more designated to the Fred Rogers Center between 8 a.m. and midnight is eligible for matching funds.

Donations to the Fred Rogers Center help young children to become confident, competent, and caring. 


Thanks to a partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Libraries, Check-out Tech kits were introduced into 5 new Pennsylvania counties -- Berks, Luzerne, Centre, Lancaster, and Lycoming on August 30 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Digital Media and Learning Project Manager Tanya Baronti provided a full-day workshop to introduce children's librarians to the kits, and modeled best practices for early childhood environments. To date, the initiative is in 7 counties across Pennsylvania.


In My Own Words

Just as Fred Rogers understood the importance of community, we know that it takes advocates, collaborators, donors, and so many other friends, to help achieve our mission. To share your "Fred Story" visit us online

I wrote to Fred Rogers when I was 5. His neighborhood was right down the street from me, and he sent a letter back thanking me for writing. Now, I stopped to see the Fred Rogers Center during Steelers Training Camp to walk down memory lane. Pittsburgh still has the nicest people, perhaps because of our great "neighbor."

Here's to simpler times. 



"All life events are formative. All contribute to what we become, year by year, as we go on growing." -Fred Rogers

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