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Public Educational Media
March 24, 2021

Donkey Hodie, a new social-emotional puppet series for children ages 3-5 produced by Fred Rogers Productions (FRP) and Spiffy Pictures will premiere nationally on PBS on May 3, 2021. AVDF provided production funding of $400,000 for Donkey Hodie.

Paying homage to Fred Rogers’ work, Donkey and her friends are based on characters from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. They live in the Land of Someplace Else, which was located just down the road from the original Neighborhood of Make-Believe. The series builds on the success of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood by helping young viewers navigate the frustrations and challenges of childhood by reinforcing the message of empowerment, resilience and determination in each story.

Research reveals that when asked about the skills teachers would most like children to have upon entering kindergarten, teachers do not talk about content-related skills such as math and science. Rather, they indicate the necessity of self-regulation and executive function skills such as problem solving, empathy, self-control, and persistence which help children to manage their thoughts, feelings, and actions, and prepare them to take in new information. These are the skills that help children learn to learn, and that prepare them to become part of a school community. In creating Donkey Hodie, FRP has a unique opportunity to impact children’s preparedness to learn, as well as to promote a positive mindset when it comes to encountering challenges.

By engaging a wide and diverse audience of children age 3 to 5, Donkey Hodie will help pre-school children build character by modeling and supporting the development of executive function and resilience in the face of childhood’s fears and frustrations. The passionate and determined Donkey Hodie will encourage kids to face challenges with positivity, practice kindness, be resourceful and discover they can solve problems on their own, and enjoy the success that comes from trying hard and doing their best.

Founded in 1971, FRP continues to set a high bar for children’s media by creating quality children’s programs that model an enthusiasm for learning and have earned the trust of parents and caregivers. Since 2012, FRP has launched four new series: Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Peg + Cat, Odd Squad, and Through the Woods. The programs have collected a total of 23 Emmys, 25 Parents’ Choice Awards, and numerous Common Sense Media seals of approval.

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