Early Learning Meetup
Early Learning Meetup

The Early Learning Meetup Group brings together network members to further develop the regional research agenda for early childhood development and improve messaging related to local early learning opportunities. Below is a summary of the meeting of the Remake Learning Early Learning Meetup on Tuesday, September 27th from 12:00pm to 1:30pm with the Fred Rogers Company.

Love-bombs going out to the warm-hearted, every-connected team at Fred Rogers. What an impressive display of walking-the-walk! Special thanks to Chris Loggins for sharing (and singing!) the Daniel Tiger musical strategies. And to Alan Friedman, for his ever-present kindness and good nature.

In Case You Missed It

Chris led us through the development of the Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood strategy songs:

  • Every episode focuses on common social-emotional theme, musical lines they call “strategies”
  • Strategies are developed by a core group of early learning experts at the Company with the help of musicians. They work with a vast wealth of knowledge based on what Fred Rogers left behind.

We talked about this guy a lot:Fred Rogers


Each strategy contains three components:

  • Highly repeatable
  • Useful for children
  • Easily understood by the youngest of learners (2-5 year olds)

The Company now has over 80 strategies with more to come!


After highlighting examples from each strategy type, a Physical Strategy and an Affirmation Strategy, the group had a great conversation about helping early learnings, adapting media in the 60s & 70s versus 2016, and creating culture for makers and educators.


You can find all of my notes below my signature, and this entire message will be archived at remakelearning.org/meetups!

Don’t Miss Out

Is it networking? Is it continuation of practice? Is it extended learning? Is it just a nice way to spend two hours? We hope it’s all of those things! Don’t miss these opportunities to practice and discuss our craft– LEARNING

  • Next Maker Learning Meetup, will be held on October 26, with Artist Image Resource (AIR). Register via eventbrite.
  • We’ll wrap up the year with a Digital Media and Learning Meetup on November 16, with TUFF Apprenticeship Program. Register via eventbrite.


Lunch & Learns

  • Reflecting on Learning with the Children’s Innovation Project, October 10. Register here!
  • Dignity & Respect with Candi Castleberry Singleton, October 20. Register here!


#RemakeLearning Twitter Chats: http://remakelearning.org/twitterchat

How do you teach digital citizenship?

October 17th marks the start of Digital Citizenship Week, and Common Sense Media’s Jennifer Ehehalt will lead a discussion about building students’ skills and fostering a positive school culture around technology.


Monday, October 17th

7:00pm to 8:00pm

#RemakeLearning on Twitter

Learn more


Keep track of all things Remake Learning Meetups at remakelearning.org/meetups.  


Because we had such an engrossing conversation, we’ve bundled up the updates for you. If you were inspired and remembered something you just can’t wait to share, you are very welcome to let me know, and post it to the Remake Learning Calendar.

And Now for the Updates!

  • Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh: Fall Family Playshop Series 10 locations will bring in a child development expert to come and play with children at the library. Get more information here.
  • Marylin Narey “Multimodal Perspectives of Language, Literacy, and Learning in Early Childhood” a new edition in a scholarly book series.
  • Pittsburgh Symphony RADical Days 2016! Get the full 2016 schedule here.
  • Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is hosting as a part of RADical Days:
  • Environmental Charter School: Community Dialogue to help families better understand the current test environment and the impact on schools and communities. Looking for people interested in being on a panel. Send recommendations to Ani.
  • PAEYC: Hosting a 2-part UnConference; six times throughout the year instead of one large event. This one is all about Fred Rogers; his philosophies, work, and his innovation. First one is Oct 21 at Heinz History Center, Saturday October 22, highlighting Daniel Tiger. Registration on Eventbrite.


What’s Up at Sprout?

Remake Learning Network Assembly

Join fellow Remake Learning Network members as we reflect on 2016 and celebrate the work of educators and innovators across our region.


Tuesday, November 29th

3:30pm to 6:00pm

Duquesne University Power Center, 1015 Forbes Avenue, 15219

Register via Eventbrite

Conference Stipends

The Sprout Fund provides conference stipends to enable people to participate in events of regional and (inter)national importance.


Conference stipends promote knowledge sharing, communication, and collaboration among Network members, and raise greater local and national awareness of the Remake Learning movement. Requests to attend conferences and events focused on EdTech, Digital Media and Learning (DML), STEAM learning, the maker movement, and similar topics are welcomed. Conference Stipends are available up to $1,500.


Change Machine: Under 18? Apply for a $500 Change Machine Project! Next deadline is November 4th.


Remake Learning Event Sponsorships: Ready for School Year Activities!? Event Sponsorships are available up to $5,000 and requests are accepted on a rolling basis. For more information, visit this page or you can  apply here.


Remake Learning Grants: Small-scale funding awards to catalyze innovative learning projects that inspire educators and students to explore new ways of teaching and learning. Grants are available up to $10,000. Decisions are made twice annually to support summer/fall and winter/spring activities in Pittsburgh, Southwestern Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Deadline is October 7!


Did I miss an event? Did I fail you in the updates?? Please email me and I will tweet and email to make it up to you. Any other events or opportunities are more than welcome to post on our public calendar at remakelearning.org/calendar

#ProTip: Add yourself or your organization to the Remake Learning Network Directory. Just find the button in the top right corner of the screen and “Add”

Fred Rogers Company

  • Always looking to collaborate and celebrate with other organizations such as:
    • Daniel Tiger at CMP
    • Science Center Camps
    • Working with Schell Games on apps for Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
  • Chris on the development of the Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Strategy Songs:
  • Every episode focuses on common social-emotional theme– Musical lines they call “strategies”
  • Developed by a core group of EL experts at the Company with musicians based on a vast wealth of knowledge FR left behind
  • Three components:
    • Highly repeatable
    • Useful for children
    • Easily understood by the youngest of learners (2-5 year olds)
  • Now have over 80 strategies
  • Today we will look at 2 of the strategies:
  • It’s Ok to be mad… (Useful for that Bridge Traffic, right?) Use this stay calm strategy:
    • “Take a deep breath and count to four”
    • Now that you are calm, you can think of what to do
  • Strategies in two groups; Physical strategy and an Affirmation strategy.
  • Physical Strategy: “When you feel so mad that you want to roar, take a deep breath, and count to four. 1234.
  • Normal tv shows don’t typically give the viewer the kind of time Daniel dedicates when teaching strategies
  • Affirmation Strategy: “It’s ok to feel sad sometimes. Little by Little you’ll feel better again.”
    • Because we all feel sad sometimes, even us adults.
  • “Anything that is mentionable is manageable” Fred Rogers
  • Strategies take a notion and break it down into little bites, comprehensive ideas that can be shared.
  • And of course, don’t forget, “Flush and Wash and be on your way!”

Thoughts & Reactions:

  • On Teaching Grit: SO much of what this is is grounded in the work of Fred Rogers: how does that influence the work at Daniel Tiger?
    • The experts say: “My experience has been that where we have been as a company, looking at our Foundation, which is Fred, we always think about how innovative fred was. SO putting the innovative base, fred’s thinking, the 21st century, and how not to see out. IMO that’s how we assess each project that we are looking at.
    • Perseverance might not have been a word that Fred used, but he was so slow, so elaborate. I think for us, I think it’s really, to me, I have found it really interesting to look at how you take solid theory, solid foundational information, and put it together with innovation. Contemporary and don’t sell out. When fred did it, he did it by himself.
    • Daniel Tiger is the most thoroughly vetted show in the history of children’s television.
      • We get together as a big group to decide and think about a theme we want to address.
      • This is the most disciplined group in knowing that our audience is 2-5 years old. These conversations go on and on.
      • We manage to somehow boil it down to stories and scripts
      • Because they are half an hour, and they involve two stories, but at the end of the episode, a child has two different contexts for what that means.
    • So for example, if we want to talk about empathy, we don’t say, “be empathetic,” we talk about “how do you think that person is feeling?”
    • The institutional knowledge that we have, that is something the team is able to bring to the script; because we have people on the team that remember how fred used to do it.
    • We also do a lot of showing on the show. How would Daniel show his empathy?
    • Some of the stories go through formative research with children. And sometimes children are informing us so we understand what is best for them.
    • And it goes through another cycle again
    • Mentionable, manageable, logical
  • How many weeks from ideation to productions?
    • 40 weeks
    • And there is a lot more awareness from parents and teachers about subjects like resilience and empathy– but that hasn’t changed for children
  • You always think of Fred and Sesame as early adopters of tv– what is the next thing that the new technology is bringing? What are you thinking about?
    • We’ve been thinking about virtual reality
    • They currently have 5 apps that in the marketplace
    • Turn Daniel TIger into a product
    • How to you make the most of the mobility of a mobile phone– see Day or Night which will walk you through various routines that a young child might want to go through (eg brush your teeth)
    • Even the potty app isn’t about potty training, but listening to your body.
    • Working with schell games has been phenomenal. And they test these game concepts with children at the children’s museum meticulously.
    • You can even play school with Daniel Tiger; and since it’s launch it has been the number one game on PPS website. It’s brilliantly simple and perfect for someone that age for interactivity.
  • Multimodal literacy expert: really admired in the presentation the attention given to thinking about multimodal learning
    • Chris is also in the library every week reading to children. That process is best used through experience
  • Live action segments: These are interstitials. We hope anyone can understand them, but that Pittsburghers always recognize them
    • And they almost always tie into the strategy song
    • These could also expose opportunities that are within cities that kids live in
  • Comparison for the teachers in the room
    • Library: The use of the show to present content and then follow-up with the live action speaks to what we do with parents to introduce early learning.
    • The book introduces the content, and then parents follow-up in the world with their young one. Real life to the book.
    • Unlike the experience in “life’ that a parent may inevitably be with the child; media doesn’t have to rely on that, or can’t rely on that. Media can be a springboard, which is something Fred Rogers Company is very interested in
  • PAYEC: Interested in giving teachers materials related to Daniel Tiger. The response has been remarkable. They are embracing the songs. Others have gone on to create entire centers based on Daniel Tiger. The parents come in a recognize the songs.
    • 10 topics made available to teachers
    • The company did not want to create another curriculum. They wanted to make a useful supplement
  • Is there a place with a list of all the strategies?
    • To help parents find the right song for the moment
    • There is a member on the team that is examining how to best help parents right now. Not only what all the strategies are, but you can hit favorites. “Putting the mobile in the mobile device”
    • Also going to put them all in Spanish
  • What hasn’t been covered yet?
    • For example, there are kits for big disasters. “Look for the helpers” Fred Rogers
    • They were actually inspired to do an episode based on this.
    • But some things talking about now: Still fleshing out a fourth season, but perhaps dealing with change, how to welcome someone new into your life, but they are always looking at the inventory. However, there are concepts that we want to cover, but are trying to figure out the method in this medium. EG: Transitional objects
    • Sneak Peaks: Tiger family trip; Daniel’s Goldfish dies;
    • Hard topics: Allergies
  • Is there a Daniel Tiger that has dealt with mental health; addiction, for example
    • THere were things that Fred did, not necessarily for broadcast, for particular centers to use
    • Perhaps the approach would not be about addiction, but about taking care of ones body; naming and experiencing ones feelings
    • And there are choices we have to make that are challenging. Although we have very good numbers of people that watch with their children, but the reality is the majority are not. You have to make sure that you are careful about creating anxiety. There have been times when we have not gotten it right. (Stomping). And there are challenges like, Do you introduce the idea of being afraid of the dark?
  • The culture, even though you work in different departments, you all talk as if Fred is an old friend. So for many of us that work in institutions.. What you’re doing is something we hope to accomplish. Can you talk about how that culture has permeated through the organization?
    • Newest member, Paige:That was one of the things that struck me during my time interviewing. There is a first name basis with Fred, because he was always to me Mr. Rogers. So that was very new to me. Fred is just kind of around all the decisions are made. ALways make sure care for children is shown there.
    • The reason we’re all here is because we care about kids
    • Alan: That’s an interesting thing. Mr. Rogers was a character. But when we use Fred’s name, it’s also because he was a producer and had to balance competing demands, and there was so much more in his work that made him who he was.
    • Paul: We also have to separate what he said: Fred would say things as a scholar, and then things he would say as Mr. Rogers
    • Margie: a lot of it is through osmosis; daily living. It’s not anything you can just pick up a book and say, “you go it!”
    • Paige: There’s also a lot of Fred Stuff around that acts as daily reminders
    • Alan: and it’s not necessarily like shangri la
    • Teacher: you try to think about what you are leaving,even if you are transitioning away from a company. What you are doing is amazing to watch
    • Well, some of it, there’s no almost no staff turnover “The fish stinks from the head-down”
    • Paul: Something i tell people we do that blows people’s mind, we eat lunch together. And so we know each other. It doesn’t mean that we are always together outside of work, but we have a constant thread.
  • Other observation: It really seems like you practice what you preach. It doesn’t matter how much you plaster it on the walls if it isn’t practiced. I think that’s shining through.
    • Paul: It’s nice to be unapologetically square. We can just be really nice to each other.
    • Alan: we do crack a lot of jokes at lunch, and we do live in a sarcastic world, but that’s something that is also unusual about the tone of our workplace is that there isn’t a lot of that.
Early Learning Meetup: Fred Rogers Company was last modified: September 30th, 2016 by Arielle Evans