Samuel J. Meisels, president of Erikson Institute, and Barbara Bowman, Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Development and co-founder of Erikson Institute, hosted 30 national leaders at a roundtable discussion on January 31 exploring issues and potential partnerships for a national framework for excellence in children’s media.

The Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College organized the invitation-only event. Attendees included leaders in media research, media literacy, child development, education, entertainment and educational media, policy, and philanthropy.

Meisels welcomed the roundtable participants to the institute. “Rapid advances in technology and in digital and social media are transforming how young children are taught and how they interact with the world,” says Meisels. “But what is the best role for these new technologies and media in early childhood settings? How should parents, teachers, and others who care for young children respond to the world of technology? Erikson has committed itself to helping answer these important questions.”

“To that end, I am tremendously excited by the group assembled today at the roundtable and its commitment to developing a meaningful framework for child-centered media,” he continues.

Erikson and the Fred Rogers Center are longtime collaborators. Bowman is a founding member of the Fred Rogers Center Advisory Council. Chip Donohue, Erikson’s director of distance learning, has been a Fred Rogers Center Senior Fellow since 2009.

Fred Rogers Center Executive Director Rita Catalano describes the roundtable as “an opportunity for those who create, those who study, and those who support parents and educators as they make decisions about the use of media with young children to discuss key issues from their variety of perspectives and interests. We see the roundtable as a first step in achieving broad consensus on the important elements of excellence in media for young children across platforms and across formal and informal settings for learning.”

She notes that “the roundtable is in keeping with the mission of the Fred Rogers Center to bridge the fields of early learning and children’s media through a variety of programs and initiatives that address the needs of children and the adults responsible for their learning and development.”

Rogers Center Roundtable Planning Group

Pictured are roundtable planning group members (from left) Michael Robb, early learning environment program manager, Fred Rogers Center; Catalano; Donohue; Ellen Wartella, director, Center on Media and Human Development, Northwestern University, and PNC Grow Up Great Endowed Fred Rogers Center Fellow; David Kleeman, president, American Center for Children and Media; and Michael Levine, executive director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. Bowman and Meisels stand next to the planning group.