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Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Pros: Its positive message encourages love of self and others, as well as a true curiosity about the world.
Cons: Activity offerings are a bit limited and site navigation isn’t always clear, especially for kids exploring the site without an adult.
Bottom Line: Warm, loving messages delivered with Mr. Rogers' typical calm, gentle style make this site a great launching pad for explorations of social/emotional development.
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood would be best used as a springboard for class discussions on important preschool issues and feelings -- for example, how everybody is special and unique. Have kids learn Mr. Rogers’ songs, discuss what they mean, and sing them together. Show the class "How People Make Things" videos to help teach kids about items they use in their everyday life, or visit Mr. Rogers' kitchen and then make a simple recipe together as a class. Kids can complete some of the art activities on their own and then print their creations. Or, try "Make a Story," which lets children pick some images and use them to tell their own story. The accompanying parent/teacher website also has a wide selection of ideas for classroom activities -- check it out.
PBS KIDS' Mister Rogers' Neighborhood is an interactive online extension of the classic and much-loved television show. Kids navigate through Mr. Rogers' iconic house, where they can explore the living room or kitchen (e.g., open the front door, look at the ever-changing contents inside a box), watch video clips, or listen to songs. Videos are of field trips to places like the dentist, or features on "How People Make Things," like crayons. Songs, some of which also include video, focus on preschool subjects like “What Do You Do with the Mad that You Feel?” Of course, the classic “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” is also available. Kids can also visit the Neighborhood of Make Believe, where they interact with puppets or use their imaginations to create things, tell a story, or build their own unique neighborhood.
The theme of teaching kids to love and appreciate themselves, others, and their world abounds on this welcoming site. Kids will have fun interacting with loveable characters, exploring the familiar (to those who watch the TV show) house, and seeing Mr. Rogers' things for themselves; you can open the closet door and see his sweaters and sneakers inside.
There aren’t many activities, though they do cover a wide range: from creation (making a drawing) and exploring (opening alphabet doors) to watching and listening (videos and songs), making social connections (sending an e-card), and doing (making a recipe). Kids will get the most out of the site when they visit it with a grown-up who uses it as a launching pad for discussion and offline activity. Each activity includes information about learning goals and importance for development. For instance, a stop light game in which kids learn to control their bodies has them clap fast at a green light, slowly at a yellow light, and stop clapping at a red light. More activities like this would give the site more even substance.