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April 21, 2014

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Sesame Workshop Partners with Child Care Aware of America to Support Resiliency Efforts

By Dr. Jeanette Betancourt


Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, is the Senior Vice President, Community and Family Engagement, at Sesame Workshop

Thanks to Child Care Aware® of America, Sesame Workshop’s Little Children, Big Challenges resources will reach more parents and educators than ever before, to help children develop the resilience they need to overcome everyday challenges. From saying goodbye to a parent in the morning, being patient, overcoming bedtime blues, sibling rivalry, and even relocating, the lovable and relatable Sesame Street Muppets™ can show them how. Many people think that resilience is an innate part of a child’s personality, but by helping children cope with the challenges that come their way, children can actually learn the skills they need to build resilience, and in turn grow healthy and school ready.

To help parents and children make everyday challenges into learning moments, Sesame Workshop has created bilingual (English/Spanish) multimedia resources including Sesame Street videos, print resources, and a guide for educators to use in the classroom.

We want to do everything possible to make sure our resources are accessible to families when and where they need them. That’s why a dedicated partner like Child Care Aware® of America is such an important relationship to the Workshop. With their established network through the Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&Rs) field, our multimedia materials about resilience will reach more than 860,000 families per year, and we can continue to develop and improve our resources using feedback from those families. This pilot program will allow CCR&Rs who are members of Child Care Aware® of America to submit requests for proposal to participate in the pilot, and distribute materials to children and families in their community. Updates around the rollout of materials and how to submit requests for proposal will be announced on this blog.

For more than four decades, the Workshop has been focused on helping children achieve their highest potential. Today we continue our efforts, with the help of partners like Child Care Aware® of America, by tackling essential skills that can help children learn and grow as they encounter new challenges every day; they also provide the adults in their lives with tools to help young children build these crucial skills in a fun and furry way that only Sesame Street can – with the help of Grover and the rest of the Sesame Street Muppets.

Sesame Workshop’s Little Children, Big Challenges initiative seeks to help children ages 2-5 in military, veteran and general public families build important resilience and perseverance skills that allow them to overcome challenges large and small. One of the most important factors in building these skills is the presence of a caring, supportive adult. This is why this new initiative is providing tools for adults to empower the children in their lives to transform everyday challenges into opportunities for growth, development, and lifelong success.

 

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March 19, 2014

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Cleaner, Healthier, Happier

By Dan Lewis


2.5 Billion people currently do not have access to safe toilets. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Water, Sanitation & Hygiene program focuses on the development of tools and technologies that can lead to sustainable and marked improvements in sanitation in the developing world. Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street, has been selected to join the 2014 “Reinvent The Toilet Fair: India” to showcase critical health messages as part of its Cleaner, Healthier, Happier campaign designed to reach children and families across Bangladesh, India and Nigeria.

Along with the Workshop’s delegation at the fair, Sesame’s newest member of its Muppet family, Raya, a 6-year-old, fuzzy, aqua-green girl, was introduced to the world for the first time. Brian Arbogast, Director of the Water, Sanitation & Hygiene team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, sat down for a chat with our new friend, Raya.

Brian: Raya, it is so nice to meet you. Can you tell me why you are in India today?

Raya: Thank you. It’s nice to meet you too.  Everyone loves a fair, Mr. Brian! You say the word ‘fair’ and I’ll get there as fast as my sandals will carry me.

Brian: I noticed that you wear your sandals everywhere. Do you know why that’s important?

Raya: Of course I do, Mr. Brian! I know lots of things. I make sure to wear my sandals everywhere—especially to the latrine. Wearing my sandals helps protect me so I can stay clean and healthy.

Brian: That’s very smart, Raya.

Raya: Well, thank you. Do you want to know what else I know? I know that it is also really important to wash my hands with soap every time I use the latrine. Clean hands means healthy Raya. Healthy Raya means happy Raya. There’s nothing better than being clean, healthy and happy!

Brian: You know a lot about being healthy, Raya! It’s hard to believe you are only six years old.

Raya: Well, thank you,  Mr. Brian. You’re really nice! It’s hard to believe you aren’t furry or feathered.

Brian: Thanks, Raya. That’s the nicest thing I’ve heard in a while. And thank you so much for chatting with me today.

Raya: It’s my pleasure–very nice to talking with you too. I have to go now. Time to wash-up for dinner. See you soon. Bye!

 

This blog post originally ran at ImpatientOptimists.org

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February 19, 2014

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John Henson, 1965-2014

By Dan Lewis


With great sadness, we share the news of the passing of John Henson, son of the late Jim and Jane Henson and a puppeteer in his own right. He will be missed by his extended Sesame Workshop family.

To learn more about his life and legacy, please visit the Jim Henson Company’s Facebook page.

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January 30, 2014

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Join us LIVE for Elmo’s Birthday Monday Evening!

By Sesame Workshop


Guess who is celebrating a birthday on Monday, February 3rd? That’s right, Elmo! And he wants to celebrate it with you! At 7 PM ET,  Elmo will be appearing LIVE via Spreecast! And you’re invited!

 

Where: Via this Link

When: 7:00 PM Eastern Time on Monday, February 3rd  for 30 to 45 minutes.

Who: You, and bring your kids, too!

We’ll see you there!

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January 29, 2014

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Remembering Pete Seeger

By Joe Hennes


Folk singer and songwriter Pete Seeger has passed away this week at the age of 94.  While he was regarded as a pioneer of folk music, having written classics like “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” and “If I Had a Hammer,” he will also be remembered for his many appearances in the early years of Sesame Street.

His first appearance was in the first season, in which he sang several songs like “Skip to my Lou” and “John Henry.”  Through the next six years, Seeger would periodically show up on the street with his banjo to perform more songs for the kids.  In one case, his car broke down near Sesame Street, so rather than call AAA, he took it as an opportunity to make more music.

In 1974, Seeger was joined by Frederic Douglass Kirkpatrick for “Pete Seeger & Brother Kirk Visit Sesame Street,” an album featuring traditional and contemporary folk songs, accompanied by Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch.

Pete Seeger returned to Sesame Street in the late 1980s for a very brief cameo in a very memorable video.  He joined such legends as Paul Simon, Madeline Kahn, and John Candy in the classic “Put Down the Duckie.”

In 2009, Oscar the Grouch returned the favor by appearing at Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday celebration at Carnegie Hall, singing Seeger’s song “Garbage”.

Pete Seeger had a strong connection to Sesame Street’s long history, and he was responsible for introducing many children to the joy of folk music.  We are proud to count him among the celebrities who helped make Sesame Street the show that it is today.

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January 28, 2014

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Celebrating the Lunar New Year

By Sesame Workshop


China is celebrating the Lunar New Year at the end of January, and Sesame Workshop is excited to celebrate too! That’s why we teamed up with China’s CCTV Children’s Channel to help produce 10 short segments called “Let’s Celebrate New Year!” to encourage children learn more about special traditions and customs, and hear legendary stories.

Each segment stars the Muppets from Sesame Street’s Big Bird Looks at the World, the Chinese version of Sesame Street, and a host from one of the many popular CCTV children’s programs. Together with Elmo and Lily, the host explains things like why dumplings are eaten at New Year’s, why it’s customary to wear red, and why it’s significant that 2014 is the Year of the Horse.  The segments will air on CCTV throughout January and February.

Sesame Workshop and CCTV had a thirty-year history of working together. In 1983, we collaborated to produce Big Bird in China, which was the first time a Sesame Street Muppet traveled to China. Now, decades later, we’re getting together, again, as we continue to educate and inspire the children of China.

To learn more about all the ways Sesame Workshop helps children in China reach their full potential, click here.

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Five Years and Counting: Hikayat Simsim is celebrating its 5th year with long-time partner Bank of Jordan

By Ghada Dahabreh


Ghada Dahabreh is the Project Coordinator for Jordan Pioneers, which co-produces Hikayat Simsim with Sesame Workshop.

Jordan Pioneers, the producers behind the Jordanian educational multimedia initiative Hikayat Simsim (based on the award-winning children’s TV series Sesame Street), is thrilled to announce the 5th consecutive partnership year with our devoted collaborator Bank of Jordan (BOJ).  The past four years have enabled Hikayat Simsim to reach Jordanian children nationwide with positive messages about financial responsibility, teaching children about spending, sharing and saving habits.  Read More

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Making Everyday Challenges into Learning Moments

By Graydon Gordian


Children need to learn much more than numbers and letters to achieve their full potential. They need to develop healthy eating habits. They need to respect and understand children who are different than they are. And they need to be resilient enough to handle the challenges, emotional and otherwise, that life throws at them.

Many people think that resilience is an innate part of a child’s personality, but by helping children cope with the challenges that come their way, children can actually learn the skills they need to build resilience.  That’s why Sesame Workshop is expanding its Little Children, Big Challenges initiative to include tips and strategies for everyday challenges.  Read More

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December 09, 2013

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A Recipe for Cooking Up a Fun and Furry Children’s App

By Karen Halpenny


Karen Halpenny is a Senior Editor, Publishing & Senior Manager, Digital Publishing at Sesame Workshop.

David Kleeman, President of the American Center for Children and Media and PlayVangelist at PlayCollective, challenged content creators to make an “ingredients” list for their educational media. Challenge accepted!

App Name: Peekaboo Sesame Street

Goals:

  1. Design an app for the youngest segment of our audience to engage them with our characters in an age-appropriate interactive way.
  2. Introduce toddlers to the basics of how to use a tablet since we know they’re using these devices in increasing numbers.
  3. Integrate some fun into learning focused on science curriculum (prediction and cause & effect).

Approximate time required: 6 months

Yield: 1 app  Read More

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December 02, 2013

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How She Got to Sesame Street: A Live Performer Tells Her Story

By Jennifer Wysong


Jennifer Wysong performs as Jenny the music teacher and Rosita in the Sesame Street Live production “Elmo Makes Music.” Sesame Street Live is produced in collaboration with the VEE Corporation.

I grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida, and began performing when I was nine years old. My third grade teacher gave me a brochure for an acting camp, thinking it would be a good outlet for my extra energy. I attended the camp and never looked back; I knew I wanted to perform. I trained hard and performed in as many shows as I could in those early years. I studied Theater Arts at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, and then made the inevitable move to New York City.

One of my college roommates and best friends joined the cast of Sesame Street Live, and he encouraged me to audition when the show visited New York in February. I auditioned a year earlier, but didn’t get the part. I was a little nervous about trying again, but I still wanted the part of Jenny, the live performer and music teacher in Sesame Street Live production “Elmo Makes Music.” My voice felt strong, but my dance skills were just a little rusty. I needed to hone my skills before the next audition, so I put on my headphones. As I heard the first notes of “Sunny Days,” I was immediately transported to my childhood and years of enjoying Sesame Street on television. I remembered the life lessons learned, the fun songs, and the many Muppet friends I came to know and love. Who could have known that years later I would become part of the Sesame Street family?  Read More

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