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CHKD Blog

Little girl attending to online school class on laptop computer

Virtual Learning: What Would Mister Rogers Do?

Author: Michele Tryon, CCLS
Published Date: Thursday, September 10, 2020

Have you heard of Mister Rogers? Fred Rogers was not only a beloved television personality on the children’s program Mister Rogers, he was a gentle man with a heart for connecting with kids. He connected through the screen for almost three decades. His quiet demeanor and caring messages touched millions of children over the years. I remember my own children, now grown, sitting mesmerized by his slow movements and conversational style. As many children head back to virtual school, this gives me hope.

It is possible to connect with kids through a screen, if you understand what kids need. Everyone, regardless of age, wants to belong and feel like they are important, and their contributions are significant. When children feel “at home” with you it doesn’t matter if it is in a virtual space, or a more traditional brick and mortar classroom.

As we begin the school year for so many virtual learners, it will be important for parents and teachers to join together and support each other. Whether you are an educator planning for your students, or a parent supporting your child’s online learning, let’s consider a few tips that can help.

Virtual learning tips for parents:

  • Support your child’s teacher by showing enthusiasm. Let your child know their teacher cares about them and is working hard to make the lessons interesting.
  • Build rapport by getting to know your child’s teacher as a person. It’s not about becoming best friends with your child’s teacher, it’s about recognizing our common humanity.
  • Remember to show grace. We are all in this together and there will be times that you get frustrated with the demands of the curriculum or expectations of the teacher. Just like you, educators want your child to be successful, too.

Virtual learning tips for teachers: 

  • Connect with your students by sharing your commonalities. Do you have pets or like pizza? What about your students? What do they like?
  • Promote positivity. You may be online but it’s still important to smile at your students and call them by name.
  • Demonstrate grace in the tough moments. We are all in this together and there will be times that you get frustrated with your students or the limitations of technology. Most people are doing the best they can at any given time.
Remember, during these uncertain times, it really does take a commitment to create a beautiful day in our collective neighborhood. Mister Rogers would be so proud of you for trying. For more parenting resources visit CHKD.org/ParentingResources.

 

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About Michele Tryon, CCLS

Michele Tryon, CHKD community outreach coordinator and parent educator has worked with children and families for 30 years, providing services in the hospital, home, school and community setting. Michele is a Certified Child Life Specialist, a Certified Positive Discipline™ parent educator, a nationally recognized trainer/consultant for Nurturing Parenting Programs™ and co-author of The Nurturing Program for Parents and Their Children with Special Needs and Health Challenges©.