Annemarie Roeper was very active in early childhood education both locally and nationally and was committed to expanding access to preschool. She contributed to initiatives that eventually led to Head Start and funding for Sesame Street.
Annemarie believed that preschools needed to attend to the cognitive abilities of young children, while still maintaining an experiential, emotionally supportive environment. “Until recently, we had a tendency to emphasize the emotional area without much concern for the intellectual development of the child. Now we are seeing more and more evidence of the fact that the two are closely related and cannot exist without one another. Thoughts develop from feelings, and feelings are based upon thoughts.”
These ideas about the cognitive strength of young children caught the attention of Joan Ganz Cooney, co-creator of Sesame Street. She argued that “failing to offer preschoolers appropriate intellectual stimulus and challenge would squander their brainpower and compromise their future,” using Annemarie’s writing as support during the creation of the program (Street Gang, by Michael Davis, p. 68.)
Today, to honor our philosophical alignment, Roeper supports Detroit Public Television and PBS in their continued commitment to offering children’s programming. David Feldman, Head of School, and Nicholas Mojares, Roeper senior, had the chance to share a little about Roeper with DPTV host, Fred Nahhat, as part of their upcoming pledge week. Watch the interview, which is running in conjunction with Sesame Street on PBS Kids through 12/16, HERE.