This is the latest in a series of blogs by partners of the Fluency work.
By Angela Curfman
July 4th is not only a national holiday; it is a celebration of self as it is my birthday. This year, it was spent with a safe circle of close family and friends. While the company and authentic relationships were the best gifts, one present that I received has caused much revisiting, rereading, highlighting, sticky notes, and personal reflection. And, what could cause much everlasting action? A book titled Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More than Ever, by Gavin Edwards (2019). Drawn to his lasting legacy and warm embracement of all, modes and methods to live more like Mister Rogers today prompted my own pedagogical insights and classroom improvements. It was these same thoughts that found a natural alignment to the goals and objectives of the FLUENCY Project.
“The best teacher in the world is someone who loves what he or she does, and just loves it in front of you.”
Today, that same promotion of kindness, empathy, and wonder in the classroom is critical. Imperative for overall student success, educators have the amazing responsibility to foster the development of both the affective and cognitive domains. To awaken the imagination and spark curiosity in a student empowers academic success and emotional health. Utilizing a Mister Roger’s philosophical perspective, educators may just be able to create an authentic nurturing classroom that
supports diversity, promotes student voice, and equity.
“No matter how old or young we are, we learn best from people who care about us. That relationship grows when teachers are friendly, respectful, and interested in us as unique human beings.”
Known for his kindness, creativity, commitment to the overall well-being of children, Mister Rogers left an admirable legacy. It is that legacy that educators may take into consideration in the design of a nurturing classroom. The utilization of children’s and young adult literature creates a powerful transitional bridge to share Mister Rogers’ thoughtful integrated approach to life. Literature presents the opportunity for reflection, reality, and an unknown promising world. To meet the
development needs of students and to fulfill academic standards while supporting his timeless approach, a list of Mister Rogers’ quotes aligned with children’s and young adult literature:
“It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression. Looking through a Mister Rogers’ lens and employing children’s and young adult literature in the classroom presents the powerful opportunity to inspire wonder, kindness, and empathy in the classroom. Find the joy in the daily miracles in the classroom, starting first and foremost with the students that enter into the classroom. In true Mister Rogers’ fashion, a song to conclude:
It's you I like,
It's not the things you wear,
It's not the way you do your hair
But it's you I like
The way you are right now,
The way down deep inside you
Not the things that hide you,
Not your toys
They're just beside you.
But it's you I like
Every part of you.
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
I hope that you'll remember
Even when you're feeling blue
That it's you I like,
It's you yourself
It's you I like.
Written by Fred Rogers | © 1971, Fred M. Rogers
Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media. (2018).
Rogers, F. (2005). Life’s journeys according to fred rogers: Things to remember along
the way. Reprint, Hachette Books 2014.
Rogers, F. (2003). The world according to mister rogers: Important things to remember.
Reprint, Hachette Books 2014.
Rogers, F. (1971). It’s you I like. Pittsburgh Music History.
Employed as an Assistant Professor at West Liberty University, (West Liberty WV), Angela Curfman is in her 10 th year in higher education. She first began her educational career as an elementary educator in Marshall County Schools, (Moundsville WV).
Angela Curfman is currently enrolled at West Virginia University in the Curriculum and Instruction doctoral program and is finalizing her dissertation. Angela’s research areas include children’s literature, bibliotherapy, and emergent literacy
instruction. Her most recent manuscript, The Integration of Bibliotherapy in the Classroom: A Literature Review, was just accepted in the 2019 American Reading Forum Online Yearbook.
Angela is a member of the Cohort 3 of The Data and Technology Fluency Project with West Liberty University and the CREATE Lab (situated in Carnegie Mellon University). Angela’s research areas include children’s literature, bibliotherapy, and emergent literacy instruction.