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December 10, 2013

By Graydon Gordian

Making Everyday Challenges into Learning Moments

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. 

In the past we’ve worked with families and children to help kids stay strong during acutely challenging life events, such as the death of a parent, the incarceration of a parent, or divorce.  With this phase of Little Children, Big Challenges, we are able to broaden our reach because all children face everyday challenges: from saying goodbye to a parent in the morning, being patient, not being able to do yet what others can, beating the bedtime blues, handling mean or aggressive behavior or sibling rivalry, and even relocating.

In order to help parents and children take the everyday challenges a child faces and make them into learning moments, we’ve 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 parents when and where they need them. That’s why the initiative also includes robust digital tools, including: Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame, a free mobile app on the App Store and Google Play; a dedicated online toolkit with videos and printables; a featured playlist on our YouTube channel, and bite-sized content on our social media platforms.

“We’ve tackled tough subjects like incarceration and divorce,” said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President for Community and Family Engagement. “We continue our efforts by introducing essential skills that can help children as they encounter everyday challenges like sibling rivalry and beating the bedtime blues.”

As always, we could not do this on our own. A group of expert advisors guided us from our initial concept through curriculum development to the creation of our final resources, and our partner BAE Systems provided the major support necessary to make the idea into a reality. Generous support for the initiative was also provided by The Prudential Foundation, the Department of Veteran Affairs, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the USE and the Military Child Education Coalition.

Sesame Workshop’s mission is to help all children reach their highest potential, and every child needs the support and skills to navigate life’s challenges, big and small.  With Little Children, Big Challenges, Sesame empowers the caring adults in children’s lives to help children develop those skills and thrive.

To see the resources we have developed to help families and educators instill resiliency in children, click here.

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