Freddish: The Scientific Formula For How Fred Rogers Talked To Children

By Grace Taylor
Portrait of American educator and television personality Fred Rogers. 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood,' circa 1980s. (Getty Images)

Fred McFeely Rogers, better known as simply Mister Rogers, shot to fame during the late 1960s thanks to his inspirational and revolutionary children's television program, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Over the course of 33 years, he co-wrote, produced, and starred in nearly 900 episodes, which dealt with the everyday kind of struggles children face and taught kids how to deal with their emotions in a kind and healthy way.

It may be easy to write off Fred Rogers as a simple TV personality, but in reality, he was a highly educated man who gained his first postgraduate degree from the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He worked for years as a Presbyterian minister, but as his interest in public television grew, he enrolled in the Graduate School of Child Development at the University of Pittsburgh, where he met child psychologist Margaret McFarland. Over the next several decades, she moonlighted as a consultant on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood to ensure the highest quality of educational programming