From the Cape Cod Toy Library project...
A special kick-off event at the Cape Cinema in Dennis on Wednesday, June 20th will be a local debut showing of the film ”Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”. After the film a panel of community experts on nurturing children’s social-emotional development and curiosity will help facilitate a discussion about the importance of play. Doors will open at 6:00 pm welcoming viewers with live music, Meet and Greet reception, and cash bar. Mister Rogers books will be on display, and information about play and Cape Cod Toy Library, Inc. will be available. The film will show from 7:00-8:30 pm, and the panel discussion will follow from 8:30-9:00 pm. Tickets are $15 per person, $5.50 of each ticket will benefit CCTL.
The “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” film messages are strong reminders of just how important each relationship is and the difference it makes in the lives of children, and adults, when each individual experiences respect, kindness and love. His non-judgmental, inclusive, caring example serves as a role model for children and adults. His intentional planning of messages he wanted to convey in each television program that supports children’s social and emotional development serves as an example for any program, whether through technology or through an in-person program in a school, museum or a toy library.
Fred Rogers’ simple television set and intentional messages communicated in each program was so very effective. It worked. Similarly, the toy library model works. Cape Cod Toy Library’s intentional staging of play materials helps to encourage children’s curiosity, problem solving and social engagement. Staff and trained volunteers intentionally communicate their interest in, and respect for, each individual child and parent and model developmentally appropriate practices and emotionally responsive language to foster children’s social-emotional growth and sense of well-being. As The Fred Rogers Center mission states: “Staying true to the vision of Fred Rogers, we help children grow as confident, competent, and caring human beings.” The Fred Rogers Center’s core values of respect, deep & simple authenticity, and empathy are also values embraced by Cape Cod Toy Library, Inc.
Cape Cod Toy Library’s mission is to provide enriching, accessible, culturally sensitive, educational environments and resources that promote learning through play experiences to foster healthy child development. Its purpose is:
Our vision: Children’s need to play will be respected, nurtured, listened to and responded to in developmentally appropriate ways. Children and families will be equipped with the fundamental play-based learning experiences that give them the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to:
Research studies show that there is a deficit in children’s social-emotional skills today, as well as a decline in children’s empathy, creativity, language and vocabulary development. Over the past 60 years there has also been a gradual decline in play for children, as well as a significant increase in children’s mental health issues, substance abuse and youth suicides. (*On the Cape, there is a high opiate addiction rate, 30-40% of children enter kindergarten without any preschool experience, 1 out of every 3-4 public school students are identified as economically disadvantaged, and the suicide rate is double that of the state.)
Fred Rogers understanding of play for children’s healthy development are best stated in his words:
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood."
"When we treat children's play as seriously as it deserves, we are helping them feel the joy that's to be found in the creative spirit. It's the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our lives.”
“Being curious about the world around us is an important part of learning. When children show interest in wanting to find out about how things work and when they ask why things happen, it shows that they are developing the skills they will need for later school learning. We can encourage this interest in learning by talking with children about the things they are wondering about and explaining things that may seem quite familiar to us, but are a source of curiosity for children…”
“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning…They have to play with what they know to be true in order to find out more, and then they can use what they learn in new forms of play.”