Did you grow up with Mr. Rogers? I didn’t – it wasn’t on TV in England. I discovered it when my two boys were little. We loved the program, and would watch it together. There was something about it that was so appealing. It was slow, it was gentle, it was entertaining and educational. It was also meaningful. Fast forward a bunch of years, and I find myself creating a podcast for young children and, shockingly, begin comparing my work to that of Mr. Rogers. Gulp!
Now in no way is my podcast anything like Mr. Rogers’ TV show. My podcasts are purely auditory. BUT, I feel the same sense of simplicity, of purity and of honesty in my podcasts that is evident in everything about Mr. Rogers. The podcasts are serious, but still fun without being ridiculous, just like Mr. Rogers. Each podcast is 14-19 minutes long and contains three songs and a short story. We always begin with a “hello” song as I want the podcasts to be inviting, asking children to come listen and participate. Kind of like Mr. Rogers changing his shoes and putting his cardigan on every day. The other two songs sandwich the story and mostly are connected to the story in some way.
The songs are short and repetitive. We sing lots of verses with minimal change in the lyrics so they are easy to sing; and children even get to contribute lyrics to the songs. So empowering and validating for children. Just like Mr. Rogers, we spend time doing something. No zipping through one activity in a rush to get to the next. Everything is thoughtful and important.
When I began developing the podcasts, I met with a friend, Sue, who is a web designer. We knew each other quite well, as her children had been part of my preschool community. I explained what I wanted with a website and she immediately understood as it reflected my philosophy of working with young children. She listened to the podcasts. “Oh,” she said. “You’re like the Mr. Rogers of the podcast world.” What a compliment!
If you look around the website you will see it is simple and it is honest. What’s missing? Gimmicky stuff, cutesy stuff and distracting ads. I wanted the website to reflect the content of the podcasts – and I believe it does. I hope this has given you a little insight into my world of LISTEN TOGETHER PODCASTS. I am incredibly proud of what I have achieved, and strive continually to improve and create content that I believe is worthy of your time and a little investment. I invite you to listen to any or all of the three free sample podcasts and see what you think. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoy creating the songs and stories.