The Overview of Preschool Educational Television Program

Millions of American adults who grew up watching public television know who Fred Rogers is through his show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Although the series aimed at preschool, the lessons he taught on human values like integrity, compassion, and humility are precious for all ages. So today let’s take a look at Fred Rogers: first, by recognizing his major contributions and accomplishments; secondly, by explaining what led him to devote his life teaching children about inner feelings and important values in life; and finally, by examining how his kindness and authenticity helped him save educational television programs.

According to ABC News, July 13, 2001, Fred Rogers was appointed Chairman of the Forum on Mass Media and Child Development of the White House Conference on Youth in 1968. He also received numerous awards including two George Foster Peabody Awards, four Daytime Emmy Awards, and ‘Lifetime Achievement’ Awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. In 1999, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 10, 2002, reported that President George W. Bush presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the same year. This is the nation’s highest civilian honor, acknowledging his contribution to children’s education and a dedicated career in public television.

The New York Times, March 5, 2018, stated that Fred Rogers first saw a television in 1951, and he hated it. He said in an interview, “I saw people throwing pies in each other’s faces, and I thought: This could be a wonderful tool for education! Why is it being used this way?” He believed that television could provide social and emotional education.

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In 1963, Fred Rogers made his debut as a host for the CBC in Canada. Three years later, he created a regional show called “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” in Pittsburgh. By 1968, it was distributed nationally through National Educational Television which later became Public Broadcasting Service. The show then aired for more than three decades with 912 episodes.

According to Forbes, September 25, 2014, Fred Rogers was a gentle, mild-mannered man and has a gift to communicate with children. However, Fred Rogers’ testimony before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Communications in 1969 to defend against cutting funding for educational children’s programs proved he was more than that. It took him only six minutes to convince the stern and impatient Subcommittee chairman Senator John O. Pastore, who had never seen any of his shows, that the $20 million funding was well worth it.

Fred Rogers dedicated his entire life to better children’s television by changing the way we think about young children’s inner lives and feelings. The lessons he taught should be appreciated by adults as well, that every person matters and worthy of love, and that we should embrace emotions, not hide them. According to NBC News, May 22, 2018, Fred Rogers sums it up perfectly when he says, “If we in public television can make it clear that feelings are mentionable and manageable, we will have done a great service for mental health.”

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The Overview of Preschool Educational Television Program. (2022, May 16). Retrieved from

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