February 2017
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Academic Hood Quilt


Fred Rogers could tackle any topic brilliantly. I’m sure, unlike me, he wouldn’t have had any trouble coming up with a thoughtful newsletter greeting month after month. There is no doubt that each of his newsletters would have been meaningful and inspirational.

I started thinking about where Fred may have found inspiration. Who helped stir and provoke his thoughts? One person who comes to mind is Dr. Margaret McFarland.

Fred and Margaret had a perfectly balanced working relationship where they nurtured each other’s curiosity as they strived to understand the inner life of a child. As they worked together on concepts for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, they recorded their sessions together to allow Fred to review their conversations and rework scripts.

These recordings have formed the foundation for PNC Grow Up Great Senior Fellow Hedda Sharapan’s two-year research project discovering how complex child development theory was translated to create deep and simple programming. When Hedda shares her findings at Fred Forward in May, we look forward to hearing wonderful snippets of inspiring dialogue.

As I struggled to come up with something to say in this newsletter, I went to the people who are most thought provoking in my life, my daughters. My six-year-old suggested that my newsletter this month should be about a refrigerator with a clock inside. I thought about it for the night…maybe she was challenging me with a metaphor? Maybe we need to preserve the time we have with each other? I suspect not, but I’ll be digging a little deeper about it with her at dinner tonight.

In the meantime, please know how much I appreciate those who help us to ignite our creative spark. To the muses, the colleagues, the friends, and anyone who has ever heard me say "What if we...," thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Best wishes,

Rick Fernandes


Academic Hood Quilt


Quietude is the theme that has been emerging in the Archive this month. Fred was a great appreciator of silence. He made sure to schedule quiet time for himself each day. He accomplished this by waking up early each morning for prayer and a swim. But the story from the Archive that inspired me this month is from the 1994 book You Are Special. Fred tells of a time when he took a drive to the mountains by himself and spent the day reading, praying, and listening. The period of solitude and quietude resulted in a restful night’s sleep and a more productive day at work. For Fred, it was a time to “stop, reflect, and receive.” The photo above shows Fred in Nantucket, one of his favorite retreats for relaxation and renewal.             


Academic Hood Quilt


Saint Vincent College students in the “What Would Fred Rogers Do?” Seminar (PY373) got started on their puppet show project after studying the Going to School (1979) and Mad Feelings (1995) theme weeks of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.


The Role of Relationships in Children's Use of Technology

by Jeremy Boyle

Technology and digital media are an integral part of many adults’ lives, and the same is true for many children today. Not long ago, the conversation about digital media and early childhood learning focused on whether or not these new technologies should be part of early childhood education, at home or at school. But in recent years, the conversation has shifted to an acknowledgment that these things are a part of learning.


"Art begins within the self. The wellsprings of creativity come from inside."

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