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June 12, 2013

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‘They Need to Know They are Loved': Centerforce’s Carol Burton on Sesame Workshop’s Incarceration Initiative

By Graydon Gordian


The number of children with an incarcerated parent has increased nearly 80% in the past 20 years. Nearly 2.7 million children have a parent in state or federal prison, yet few resources exist to support young children and families coping with this life-changing circumstance. Children need tools to express emotions, while their caregivers need help maintaining routines and establishing age-appropriate communication around incarceration. That’s why Sesame Workshop has created Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration, a new outreach initiative.

This bilingual, multimedia initiative includes material that can help young children with an incarcerated parent find support, comfort and reduced levels of anxiety and sadness, as well as provides parents and care-givers with strategies, tips, and age-appropriate language they can use to help communicate with their children about incarceration.

The Little Children, Big Challenges initiative, which includes efforts to address the loss of a parent, divorce, incarceration and other difficult situations young children face, grew out of Sesame Workshop’s Military Families initiative.

To learn more about why children with incarcerated parents are in need of support, Sesame Workshop sat down with Carol F. Burton, executive director of Centerforce, a non-profit dedicated to supporting individuals and families impacted by incarceration. Ms. Burton also served as an advisor to Sesame Workshop during the development of the Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration initiativeRead More

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June 04, 2013

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Sesame Street Teams up with the National Park Service

By Graydon Gordian


America’s national parks are some of its greatest treasures. There is so much for young children to learn and explore when they visit them. Elmo, Murray and the rest of the Sesame Street gang have always loved spending time at national parks, and they think it’s about time more kids across the country joined in on the fun. That’s why Sesame Workshop, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation have teamed up to create Sesame Street Explores National Parks, a multimedia parks experience for children ages 3-5, their families and educators. The project aims to help children learn more about science and the environment whether they are in a national park, a local park or even their own backyard. Read More

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Being Here for Each Other in Oklahoma

By Mindy Brooks


Mindy Brooks is Director of Education and Research for Sesame Workshop.

My first vivid memory of a tornado was the day my sister was born. I was 4 years old, it was nighttime, and I was alone with my grandmother who spent the majority of her adult years in Papua New Guinea. I vividly remember hearing the voice of Gary England (an Oklahoma meteorologist) giving advice about the storm and telling us to quickly take cover. To my preschool brain it was targeted solely for us and our house. I remember the panic my grandma expressed as she was new to tornados. I remember talking about how to take cover, securing the mattress over us in the bathtub, and holding on to her. And, even more vividly, I remember the feeling of fear that my parents weren’t there to protect me. Read More

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May 17, 2013

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Sesame’s Experts Present Proven Strategies to Help Children Through Divorce

By Sesame Workshop


Dr. JoAnne Pedro-Carroll and Lynn Chwatsky.

Divorce is one of the most common transitions young children experience today, with ultimately 40 percent of all children experiencing the divorce of their parents. Join Sesame Workshop’s Lynn Chwatsky, VP of Educational Outreach Initiatives and Partners, and clinical psychologist, child specialist, and author Dr. JoAnne Pedro-Carroll on May 20 at 9 a.m. as they discuss Sesame Street’s newest educational outreach initiative, Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce. Learn how Sesame Street’s videos, storybook, caregiver guide, Sesame Street: Divorce app, and online resources can be used to help families with young children (ages 2–8) as they encounter the tough transitions that come with divorce and separation.

To watch a replay of the webinar, click here.

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May 15, 2013

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Encouraging Financial Literacy at a Young Age

By Graydon Gordian


On Tuesday, Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Sesame Workshop’s Senior Vice President, Outreach and Educational Practices, had the opportunity to participate in the Financial Literacy and Education Commission Public meeting at the Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C. During her presentation (embedded above) we were able to share some exciting information about the impact our financial literacy outreach initiative, For me, for You, for Later, is having on young children and their parents across the country.

We discovered that families using our financial literacy outreach materials experienced significantly less stress when discussing financial education as a family. Parents were equipped with strategies to introduce basic concepts of financial education to their children and were increasingly focused on financial awareness themselves. In addition, educators who used the kit were increasingly willing and able to introduce financial education into their curriculum.

For me, for You, for Later is just one of the many ways Sesame Workshop is using the power of our beloved characters to help young children achieve their highest potential. To take a look at our financial literacy outreach materials, click here. To learn more about our financial literacy outreach initiative, click here.

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April 30, 2013

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Illuminating the Experience of Military Children

By Graydon Gordian


April is the month of the military child, and as it comes to a close we want to provide you with some information to help illuminate the experiences of children in military families. It’s important to remember both the unique challenges children from military families face and the resilience skills they possess that help them to thrive when facing those challenges. Sesame Workshop remains committed to providing military families with the resources they need to ensure their children achieve their highest potential.

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March 25, 2013

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Sesame Street Helps Children Cope with Divorce

By David Cohen


David Cohen is the director of domestic research for Sesame Workshop.

When my friend tried to explain her divorce to her 8-year-old niece, her niece reflected “It’s going to take me awhile to process this.” Her niece’s reaction might be considered precocious, but it also shows the deep emotions children grapple with when faced with such a life altering effect.

Young children need ongoing and sensitive help from trusted adults who approach this event in age appropriate ways. In fact, young children are at risk of having more adjustment problems than older children, since they are still in the early process of developing the coping skills necessary to deal with all the changes associated with divorce. They also often blame themselves for the divorce or feel that it is their responsibility to bring their parents back together. Read More

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March 06, 2013

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Reaching Out to the Families Who Need Sesame Most: A History

By Susan Tofte


Fire Safety, disaster recover, serious illness, healthy eating habits, and divorce. All of these topics have been covered as part of Sesame Street’s long and diverse history of outreach initiatives. When Sesame Street first aired in 1969, there were significant obstacles to Sesame Street reaching children in poor communities – the very children the show most wanted to reach. Meeting this challenge became the Workshop’s first outreach program. Read More

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February 19, 2013

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Have Questions About Divorce?: Ask Sesame Street’s Abby Cadabby!

By Graydon Gordian


When going through a divorce or separation, parents and children have a lot of questions. Young children are often confused and parents are often uncertain of how to explain such a challenging transition. On top of that, if parents and children have questions, it’s not always clear where they should look for answers.

Luckily Sesame Street’s Abby Cadabby and her friend Rocio Galarza, Senior Director of Outreach and Content Design for Sesame Workshop, are here to help. On Wednesday, February 20, Abby and Rocio will be taking questions about divorce and separation from parents, children, friends and anyone who has questions about staying resilient while navigating a divorce or separation.

Email us at divorce@sesame.org and Abby and Rocio will record an answer to your question in a video segment that will be posted online next week. In addition to your question, please include your name, age (if you wish) and your hometown so we can give say hello if your question is picked. We will also write you back directly if Abby and Rocio have the opportunity to answer your question.

Let your friends, family and colleagues know too! Everyone is welcome to send in a question. We can’t wait to hear from you.

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February 05, 2013

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Tackling Divorce: Dr. Joanne Pedro-Carroll on Sesame’s Little Children, Big Challenges Initiative

By Dr. Joanne Pedro-Carroll


JoAnne Pedro-Carroll is a clinical and research psychologist and author of the award-winning book, “Putting Children First:  Proven Parenting Strategies for Helping Children Thrive Through Divorce.” She serves as a lead advisor to Sesame Street for Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce

Today, there’s an important conversation taking place at Sesame Streetanother important conversation in a thoughtful and penetrating series that has taken place behind the scenes here over the past several years. Those conversations culminated in Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce. Read More

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