The Lasting Legacy of Fred Rogers

Steve Adubato goes on-location to The Turrell Fund Day for Children in Shelburne, Vermont to talk to Dr. Junlei Li, Saul Zaentz Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education and Senior Fellow at Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media. Steve and Dr. Li discuss the legacy of Fred Rogers and the impact of simple, everyday acts of love.

11/12/2019 #2266






"Doctor Junlei Li, who is a senior lecturer in early childhood education at Harvard Graduate School of Education, also a Senior Fellow at Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media. Good to see you doctor. Good to see you Steve. The main message in your keynote today, it was so powerful. And it really comes from Fred Rogers. A lot of the themes about Doctor Fred... excuse me, Fred Rogers and his work on PBS, starting in 1968. Love and early childhood. Make the connection Doctor. I think Fred would often say that none of us grow to be who we are, and grow to a place where we can serve other people without having been loved and accepted for who we are when we were young. And along the way as well. And I think Fred tried to be that. One of those people through the television screen. But he really believed so strongly that it is important to surround children with people who can love and support them and encourage them and listen to them over time. And I think love... love not just as a feeling, but as in very concrete actions. For example? Well I'll give you an example So we... part of our work takes place in orphanages. You know, orphanages are places where people have high workload, and the work process in the orphanage is almost like an assembly line, where you have to get all these children through. But we see orphanage caregivers showing love in something as mundane as a diaper change. To be able to take just a few extra seconds, right? Instead of just picking up a child, and go to the next one. Maybe they'll twirl their fingers just for the infant to clasp onto the fingers, and pull themselves up. Just a few seconds, right? And that is love. And to be able to find love in the most simple, mundane, everyday moments, whether it is in an orphanage, or in a home, or child care, or preschool. I think that is at the very core of what early learning is all about. Part of our Right From the Start NJ initiative focuses on the role of the media in helping to inform, educate, inspire, which is originally why PBS was created. Question. Fred Rogers used children's media in a certain way. Talk about media today and the degree to which it does what I just described, compared to what Fred had in mind. I think Fred, from the very beginning, from the 1950s, thought that television..."