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Author Archives: Philip Toscano

December 02, 2011

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Amar’e Stoudemire Drops by Sesame Street

By Philip Toscano

December is the time for snow, family and, of course, the holidays and Shalom Sesame has everything you need!

For those sports buffs wondering what the NBA players have been up to during the lockout, be sure to catch New York Knicks Superstar Amar’e Stoudemire discovering more about Jewish culture when he stopped by Sesame Street to teach Shalom Sesame fans the Hebrew word “Tov”, which means “good.” Check out Amar’e on the newly launched and redesigned Shalom Sesame website and on Shalom Sesame’s YouTube channel.

Shalomsesame.org  has a new look and feel, brand new videos, downloadable resources and a printables section for parents and kids to experience Jewish learning together.

But there’s more! Shalom Sesame’s 12-part DVD series, brought to you by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, and Israel’s Channel HOP!, is great for any occasion. Whether it be traveling to Israel, entering Hebrew school or celebrating the holidays, this series is a great way to learn about the diversity and vitality of Israeli life. Shalom Sesame DVD’s, including the full series gift box set, are available at sisu@sisuent.com

Be sure to check your local PBS listings for special broadcasts of Shalom Sesame’s “Chanukah: The Missing Menorah.”  It’s time to celebrate Chanukah in Israel and Grover is bringing the latkes! All is well until Anneliese gets caught in a game of tag with a chicken and loses her special menorah …right before sunset! Can her friends find the missing menorah in time? Tune in to find out!

For young readers this holiday season, Elmo finds out what a dreidel is as he celebrates the first night of Chanukah with a friend’s family in the board book, Elmo’s Little Dreidel, published by Random House Children’s Books.

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November 30, 2011

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Sesame Street Comes to Afghanistan

By Philip Toscano

“It is a fundamental fact that media plays a significant role in education development through educational and public awareness programs. In light of this fact, the Ministry of Education has focused on providing distance educational programs through its Education TV. I believe that Baghche-e-Simsim program that depict traditions, culture and other aspects of Afghan rural and urban life are profoundly useful for the cognitive development of our children and transforming our society towards, social welfare, economic growth and durable peace.”
-H.E. Farooq Warda, Afghan Minister of Education.

In Afghanistan, the under-five population numbers nearly five million.  Yet only a small percentage of children are served by Kodakistans, the country’s kindergarten system.  Early childhood education is a problem of institutional proportions.

To combat this, we partnered with local television stations Tolo TV and Lemar TV and, in consultation with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education, created created Baghch-e-Simsim.  A brand new children’s television series, Baghch-e-Simsim features locally produced live action films intertwined with the Muppets from Sesame Street.   Baghch-e-Simsim premieres on December and its the first season contains of 26 half-hour episodes.  The show will be broadcast in both Dari and Pashto languages.

Baghch-e-Simsim, which means “Sesame Garden,” contains 13 locally produced live action films that depict traditions, culture and other aspects of urban and rural life in Afghanistan. These two-to-three minute mini-documentaries feature and celebrate the daily lives of young children from across Afghanistan and introduce one another to the rich diversity of the country’s various provinces.

Additionally, the furry and feathered friends from Sesame Street, like Elmo, Big Bird and Grover, will be on hand to encourage children in core-competencies like literacy, math, school readiness, and life skills with a special emphasis on girls’ education, diversity and cultural awareness. Sesame Muppets from co-productions around the world, including Egypt, Bangladesh, Mexico and Russia will also be featured in segments throughout the series.

For a behind the scenes look at Baghch-e-Simsim, click here.

For more information, read the full press release here.

News Coverage:
Afghan children ready to walk down Sesame Street


Sesame Street goes to Afghanistan
The Guardian

Sesame Street to be broadcast in Afghanistan
The Telegraph

“Sunny day, sweepin’ the clouds away…” arrives in Afghanistan

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