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October 02, 2012

By Sesame Workshop

Opening Doors to a Bright Future for India’s Next Generation

This article originally appeared on the Sesame Workshop India site. Visit SesameWorkshopIndia.org to learn more about Galli Galli Sim Sim and all the wonderful work Sesame Workshop India does to improve the lives of and educate the children of India.

As India surges on the global stage, early education here has never been more important. With 165 million children under age 8, India’s preschools face a daunting task: creating a new generation of global citizens with creative minds and critical-thinking skills that can help the country continue to thrive and compete.

Indian families are eager to give their children the best advantages in a highly competitive world. But India’s current system struggles to deliver. While there are pockets of excellence among India’s preschools, major gaps exist in availability and quality. In many places, preschool lessons are a downward extension of the primary curriculum, relying on memorization and a didactic teaching style that aren’t appropriate for the youngest learners.

To help meet the booming demand for quality education in India, we’re taking our mission into a new arena: Sesame Schoolhouse. This unique social enterprise uses a franchise model to bring world-class early childhood education everywhere it’s needed, at a price that’s reasonable for Indian families.

Developed especially for the needs of children ages 2 to 8, Sesame Schoolhouse creates a continuum of learning through two complementary programs. Sesame Schoolhouse instills the essential building blocks of critical thinking, creativity and curiosity in children 2 to 5. After they enter primary school, we expand on this foundation with hands-on science and math enrichment at Afterschool.

Sesame Schoolhouse was developed through an approach that’s made Sesame Street an icon of engaging education. We put the child at the center of everything we do. We believe that all children have unique potential that should be encouraged. And we know that for children to excel in today’s complex and technology-driven world, they need a new set of tools—social and emotional skills, critical thinking and creativity.

That’s what our Sesame Schoolhouse initiative is all about. Built around the lovable Muppets of Galli Galli Sim Sim, the experience unites highly trained teachers, a lively classroom environment, and collaborative projects that nurture the whole child. Our preschools address six areascritical to early childhood development—cognition, language, social, emotional, physical and cultural diversity—in line with India’s National Curriculum Framework.

A recent global ranking of students’ reading, math and science abilities placed India near the very bottom of the list. We’re working to reverse this trend with Sesame Street Afterschool. Our new enrichment program builds strong foundations in science, math and critical thinking for children ages 6 to 8. Four hours a week, kids engage with scientific concepts through exploratory games and hands-on activities that foster creativity, problem-solving skills, and a sense of curiosity about the world.

How do we know these programs work? Our process is grounded in 40 years of research and proven impact. Numerous studies tell us that children who are exposed to Sesame Street content are more confident, active, curious and inclusive. In short, they’re better prepared for school and life. And this commitment to research is ongoing: we’re already studying how to make our school experience more effective.

Sesame Schoolhouse preschool and afterschool programs are anticipated to open across Northern India in Spring 2012. Each location receives complete training, curriculum guidelines, and classroom materials from Sesame Workshop in India. This sustainable approach ensures our energizing brand of learning can thrive wherever there’s a need. The business will expand to reach families across India within ten years.

That’s excellent news for millions of active and curious little minds, and for India’s next big act on the global stage.

To learn more about our preschools visit www.sesameschoolhouse.in

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