In 1998 the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) invited Teddy Bear Band to be a featured presenter in Toronto. Fred Rogers was the keynote speaker.

TBB’s Ron Gustafson, an early childhood teacher, talked briefly with him. Fred then invited Ron to meet with him later!

MR. ROGERS SAID “KEEP DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING”
Fred Invited Originator of Teddy Bear Band To Talk One to One
(St. Paul MN 11.21) In 1998 Teddy Bear Band was invited to perform at the National Association of Education for Young Children (NAEYC) Conference, held in Toronto. Fred Rogers was the Keynote Speaker. Through a chance meeting before Fred spoke, Ron introduced himself and briefly described Teddy Bear Band’s purpose; connecting with young children through music and movement. Fred responded saying “It sounds interesting. Right now I have to get up and speak but if you would like to talk more you could come over to my hotel tomorrow morning at 9. I’ll be getting ready to leave but we could meet in the lobby and talk.”
Ron went and at 9 sharp Fred walked in and waved. They sat on a sofa and talked about connecting with young children through music. Fred said “When you sing to young children you get their attention. When I sing it’s like I’m talking directly to them.” Interested in Teddy Bear Band’s approach of engagement through physical participation, Fred said “I think you’ve got a good idea. Keep doing what you’re doing.”
Ron asked Fred what he thought was most important about relating successfully to young children. He smiled and said “Well Ron what do you think is most important?” Ron answered “Be yourself, don’t put on an act.” Fred said “Good answer Ron!” Fred went on to say “Don’t ever be afraid to be who you are. You’ve got a lot to offer.”
About 9:15 someone came over and Fred said “Well Ron my handler is here and I have to go. It was good talking with you. I hope you will keep doing what you’re doing.” He picked up his coat, waved and walked out of the lobby.
Now, in 2020, Teddy Bear Band celebrates their 35th Anniversary. 35 years of connecting with and entertaining young children through developmentally appropriate music and movement… with encouragement from Mr. Rogers.

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