6 Lessons We’ve Learned from Mister Rogers & Daniel Tiger

  • Posted by Rhya Tamasauskas on February 21 2020

This month we've been leaning into all thing’s kindness related, and who better to turn to for lessons on this important quality than two experts on the subject—the King of Kindness himself Mister Rogers, and our good friend Daniel Tiger!

We asked some of our Brown Bag crew, who have worked on the beloved Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood series over the past few years, what lessons have resonated with them from both Daniel and the great Fred Rogers.

1. Go Beyond an Apology!

Diane Aarts, Animation Supervisor, Brown Bag Films

One lesson in particular that stood out to me was “saying I'm sorry is the first step, then how can I help?” As Canadians we are quick to apologize, but the second step is just as important. May have bugged a friend or two with this one when they were struggling to solve a conflict.

2. Take a Deep Breath Before You Roar!

Ilene Mitchell, Production Manager, Brown Bag Films

While there are many shows out there that teach young kids about math, English, and science, it’s a completely different ball game to teach young kids how to assess their feelings and understand them. The strategies in our episodes can translate even to our adult life. I've even sung to myself “when you feel so mad that you want to roar…take a deep breath and count to four” a few times.

3. Watch and Learn!

Bill Tedford, Director/Art Director, Brown Bag Films

Daniel Tiger, just like Fred Rogers is using the medium as an educational tool to reach the audience in a very personable way.

I see this interaction first-hand every time I show very early versions of the episodes to my two young girls. Even at the animatic stage, my daughters are fully engaged with Daniel as he learns about his world and the people in it. Watching the girls apply the lessons on Daniel Tiger in everyday life is very rewarding.

4. Everyone is Special Just Because They are Who They are!

Tammy Langton, Director, Brown Bag Films

I watched Mister Rogers' Neighborhood when I was a kid and remember it fondly.  The lessons he taught have resonated with people of all ages for decades, dealing with often complex and layered topics, and feelings in a calm, approachable, and very human way. You always had a friend in Fred, and he liked you 'just the way you are'.

Working on Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood has been a great learning experience and has felt very personal from the start. At first it was total nostalgia, but then it became so much more to be immersed in this world of imagination and emotions. Strategies from the show have helped people in my life, as well as myself, to look at and cope with challenging situations.

5. A Simple Message Can Make a BIG Wave!

Vadim Kapridov, Director, Brown Bag Films

My daughter was born in 2003, the year Fred Rogers passed, and so though she only watched reruns of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, she loved Fred, and it was her favourite program. As a parent, I could see the immediate and undeniable effect of Fred's simple but powerful life lessons on my own kid.

On countless occasions a simple song or a phrase from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood would save our day and dry out tears over a broken toy, help overcome a difficulty in getting the drawing right, or start a string of questions about ways of nature. The magic effect Mister Rogers had on my daughter was his unique unhurried way of talking to a young audience, with a true respect and honesty, encouraging them to learn about themselves and the world around them.

6.    You Can’t Fool Kids!

Vince Commisso, CEO 9 Story Media Group

That breaking the 4th wall and talking to kids directly is something that comes with great responsibility and requires authenticity. You can’t fool kids.

And one last bonus treat before you go:

Read creator of Daniel Tiger and 9 Story Chief Creative Officer, Angela Santemero’s Opinion Piece on Mr. Rogers’ Legacy.

Rhya Tamasauskas

Marketing Manager, Digital and Social Media

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