July 1, 2019

Fred Rogers Educators’ Neighborhood to Launch

Reflecting on a piece she wrote in December 2018, Melissa Butler identifies long-term benefits observed with the same group of children five months after the initial observation. Additionally, the Fred Rogers Center announced that they will be launching “Educators’ Neighborhood: Learning and Growing Together” in support of early childhood teachers.


In December 2018, Melissa Butler wrote a blog article named, “Beechwood Kindergarteners Learn with Mister Rogers,” observing LeeAnne Kreuger’s kindergarten classroom as they gathered every Friday morning to watch an episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Labeled “Mister Rogers Friday,” teachers selected an episode each week for their students based on key themes, needs, or interests expressed in the classroom.

What they observed from April through June 2018 was that by the end of the school year, the children were actively singing along, naming characters, and making fun connections throughout the school day. In addition to this, teachers noticed benefits as well, having significant learning opportunities to reflect on child development, cultural relevancy, and ways to weave Fred Rogers’ lessons into the school day.

Five months after, this same group of children continues to watch a new episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” every week. By doing so, they’re still observing significant impacts and benefits.

Benefits for Children

Butler highlights that this group of children:

  • talk with each other during and after each Picture-Picture video because they have so many questions and connections;
  • know the difference between real and make-believe;
  • sing songs with confidence; answer Mister Rogers’ questions with eager attention;
  • allow for the silence and slowness of episode moments; and
  • have come to trust in the learning and joy each episode bring during and in the classroom.
Benefits for Educators

Teachers have also displayed key benefits, including:

  • more trust in their instincts;
  • more collaboration with each other;
  • more sharing of personal stories with students;
  • more confidence with developmentally appropriate practice;
  • more improvisation with what they choose to do after each episode; and
  • an overall approach that trusts in the larger picture of what they do as teachers.


Needless to say, the benefits of incorporating meaningful videos, especially those of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” are substantial. When educators and students are allotted a period to slow down, reflect, and talk with one another about influential topics, all parties benefit in and out of the classroom. For more, read Butler’s full blog piece.

About Educators’ Neighborhood

Educators’ Neighborhood: Learning and Growing Together is a place for educators to learn more and with each other, inspired by the life and work of Fred Rogers. Fred Rogers Center will grow an expanded community of educators to study episodes of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” read from the Fred Rogers Center Archive, and generate new ideas together connected with their daily practice with young children.

If you’re interested in joining, sign up for news, register for Educators’ Neighborhood Online, or apply to be part of the local Educators’ Neighborhood Learning Community.

More Information

For more information, read Butler’s full blog piece.

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September 19, 2018

#PAbudget Funded Pre-K Expansions Recognized Locally

Policymakers from Butler and Westmoreland Counties joined Trying Together and other early-childhood advocates this week to celebrate a new pre-k grantee classroom and pre-k classroom expansion respectively. Both were made possible by the increased investment of $25 million for pre-kindergarten funding in the final 2018-19 state budget. To read more about both, see the articles below.


Ceremony Marks Expansion of Local Pre-K Programs (sharing via Butler Radio)

Advocates tout early education gains (sharing via Butler Eagle)

State grants bolster pre-kindergarten programs in Westmoreland County (sharing via Westmoreland Tribune-Review)

Statewide Voter Support

A poll commissioned by the Pre-K for PA campaign done by Harper Polling in May showed 75 percent of likely voters support increasing funding to expand access to high-quality, publicly funded pre-kindergarten, while 94 percent of voters believe that early education is important.

A large body of research shows that children who attend high-quality preschool:

  • Enter kindergarten with stronger literacy, language, math and social/emotional skills
  • Are less likely to need special education services, less likely to repeat grades, and more likely to graduate and enroll in college
  • Over a lifetime, these young learners will see stronger employment opportunities and increased earning potential
  • Are less likely to commit juvenile and adult crimes.

Still, more than 106,000 eligible children do not have access to high-quality, publicly funded pre-k due to limited state funding. This new classroom made possible by new state funding is a step in the right direction, but there is still much work to be done.

Pre-K for PA is an issue campaign supported by individuals and organizations across Pennsylvania who believe that investing in our children is the right choice and an urgent necessity. Our vision is that every 3- and 4-year-old in Pennsylvania will have access to high-quality pre-k. We will not endorse nor oppose candidates, but rather we will advocate on behalf of this vision for Pennsylvania’s children, schools and communities. For more information