On Friday, September 27, a new friend is coming to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood in a brand-new episode of the critically-acclaimed animated series for preschoolers from The Fred Rogers Company on PBS KIDS (check local listings)! The show will explore an especially meaningful theme, one that was close to the heart of children’s TV pioneer Fred Rogers – that in some ways we are different, but in so many ways we are the same.
Meet Chrissie, Prince Wednesday’s 6-year-old cousin, who plans to visit the Neighborhood of Make-Believe frequently. Daniel really likes it when Chrissie comes around, because she is friendly, outgoing and knows how to use her imagination very well! Chrissie uses crutches as well as braces on her legs to help her walk. When asked about her disability, Chrissie proudly talks about the many things she’s able to do on her own, as well as what she needs help with. Chrissie’s matter-of-fact responses give Daniel, as well as young viewers, a wonderful opportunity to learn about someone who is different from a preschool perspective.
When you help your young child realize that differences are okay, you set the stage for them to appreciate diversity throughout their life. Here are some tips from The Fred Rogers Company and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood to help you reinforce with your own little “neighbors” at home that everyone is special in their own way!
· Model Friendliness – Children learn from example and from the things we say. Help your children respect others by the way you greet people, talk with them, and speak about them afterwards.
· Create a Family Book – Work with your child to create a book together about your family titled, “How We’re Alike and How We’re Different.”
· Meeting New Friends – Sit down with your child and talk about how it feels to meet someone new. Reassure them that we all can feel a little shy, scared or confused when people look or behave differently.
· Value Differences – Arrange a small get-together with one or two other families. Each could make a snack that may be new or different to the others, possibly an ethnic food or one that's special to their family in other ways.