Middle & Upper School Screens Mr. Rogers Documentary

by School Counselor Nora Goddard & US English & History Teacher Will McDonough
As a continuation of our community conversations on social and emotional well-being, diversity and inclusion, Middle and Upper School students watched select scenes from the film Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, a documentary on Fred Rogers and his television show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Students came together during their respective division’s Community Time, an event which occurs one time per cycle and allows for faculty and staff to explore curricular extensions and to reinforce Country School values. We found Won’t You Be My Neighbor? particularly compelling for this age group because of the film’s focus on children’s real feelings, Mr. Rogers as a role model, and specific content that is particularly relevant for tweens and teens, such as feeling comfortable as oneself, expecting and accepting mistakes, and building capacity in appreciating and learning from our differences.

Students highlighted the values of acceptance and caring and were struck by the messages that Mr. Rogers reinforced, such as “I like you just the way you are.” Students also commented on the theme that we are all feeling beings, regardless of our age, and that our emotional experiences need to be cared for and can be managed. Mr. Rogers deeply respected childhood and his work with children, which resonates strongly with the mission of Country School and the partnership between our teachers, students, and families. As Mr. Rogers so eloquently noted, “Love is at the root of everything, all learning, all relationships...the greatest thing we can do is to help somebody know that they’re loved and capable of loving.” It is this truth that rests at the heart of the Country School tradition, and it is this standard toward which we strive each day: not only to ensure that every student feels connected, understood and loved on our campus...but to empower them with the belief that they are capable of connecting, understanding and loving others, too.