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Teacher Harriet

Meet Teacher Harriet!

The creators of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood share how teachers exemplify empathy in the classroom and how we can learn from Teacher Harriet.

By Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood is an exciting new animated multi-platform series for children ages 2-4 launching on PBS KIDS this fall (check local listings). The first television series produced by The Fred Rogers Company since the iconic Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood also features an engaging and activity-rich website full of fun interactive games for kids, information-rich resources for parents and teachers and other valuable and engaging cross-platform content. Each episode of the new series showcases two relatable stories starring 4-year-old Daniel Tiger and his best friends, who invite young viewers to come along on delightful musical adventures as they explore the vibrant Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

January 8, 2013

As a follow up to last month's post, we wanted to introduce you to the teacher in Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. We created Teacher Harriet, named after the original Neighborhood of Make-Believe character, Harriet the Cow, to be the ideal teacher. She's warm, nurturing, playful, and guides the children to help them learn in all situations.  When our preschool characters have a conflict, we carefully wrote her to be non-judgmental and pro-active in the way she gives insights and strategies so the children can understand and apply what she's teaching.  In one of our favorite episodes, Prince Wednesday wants to play dinosaur in the play corner while Katerina and Daniel want to play house.  Teacher Harriet doesn't reprimand any of the kids.  She sees the moment as a teachable one and sings to the kids, "Find a way to play together," which embraces their unique view of the play situation and challenges them to figure out how to play together. 

So, go hug a teacher and thank them for all of the many things that they do each and every day to grow and nurture our children to keep them happy, healthy, and above all else, safe. 

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3 Tips We Can All Learn From Teacher Harriet:

1. Get on their level: When talking to kids, our approach has always been to get down to the preschoolers’ level, physically and cognitively. Kneeling down to establish eye contact with a preschooler is key in gaining their full attention and trust. Secondly, it is important to speak in terms that a preschooler will understand. Whether explaining the process of ‘voting’ or teaching the concept of ‘empathy,’ we should be sure to break it down simply for a three or four-year old to understand. 

2. Be Present: In our hectic everyday lives, it is easy to be distracted. Be sure to give your full attention and show children you are completely engaged in what they are saying and doing. When we encourage open communication and non-judgmental listening, children will feel comfortable coming to us and expressing their feelings and needs.

3. Celebrate Diversity: Paying homage to Fred Rogers, it is important to remind preschoolers, “I like you just the way you are.” Embracing differences and recognizing their unique and special traits will help them to become confident and compassionate adults.