Image via blackrose916... on Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.
I have taught in a K-4 elementary school for twenty-five years. The school is located at the south end of a beautiful old seaport on the south shore of Long Island, the last exit before Jones Beach. I lived here for over thirty of my adult years, and as a child, my family docked our boat behind an antique shop on one of the canals. I remember families of otters swimming in front of the boat and real church baptisms held on the opposite bank from our dock. A lot of things have changed here over the years, and a lot of the old Victorian homes have seen better times, but it is still a beautiful place.
The school was built fifty years ago, a blue two story building opposite a large park, and at the head of a canal that is home to many restaurants, fishing boats, and party boats. It is a popular Long Island destination especially in summer. From the classrooms, you can hear the horns blow as the fishing boats go out for half day charters in the early afternoon. Mergansers, gannets, and Canadian geese spend time in the park across from the school. Sometimes you can spot what looks like a football floating on the canal and upon second look realize that it is a seal. I have always felt lucky to be here. Read More
Photo Credit: Adam Kissick
On Friday, December 14, the National Children’s Museum at National Harbor in Maryland opened its doors for the first time, and Sesame Workshop was happy to be a part of it. The 3-and-under section of the museum is Sesame Street-themed, and includes hands-on activities and interactions with Sesame Street’s characters, such as Big Bird, who greets the incoming children. The museum is the first congressionally designated museum focused exclusively on children.
The Museum’s exhibits, programs and outreach activities focus on six core content areas: the arts; civic engagement; the environment; global citizenship; health and well-being; and play. The National Children’s Museum’s mission is to inspire children to care about and improve the world. In addition to the Sesame-themed 3-and-under section, the Our World section, which centers on the museum’s encouragement of global citizenship, includes an interactive table about all of Sesame Workshop’s international productions.
The tragic events from Friday morning left the nation shocked, horrified, and speechless. But while often, adults can’t find the words to express the anguish we’re feeling, the children in our lives still have questions and fears.
“Are we safe?”
As parents and caregivers, we want to help our children through this, and make sense of the words and imagery they are seeing on TV an other media. Over the course of decades, Sesame Street has been asked these very questions, and we’ve put together a packet of materials in hopes of helping families cope with these issues. Those materials, available here (as a pdf), are free for you to download. You may also view our Emergency PSA’s available on YouTube. While we can’t make the concerns go away, we hope these materials help you address the recent tragedy, and other emergency situations, with the children in your lives.
Sesame Street has never shied away from taking on tough topics. If it’s a challenge young children face in their lives, it’s a challenge Sesame Street would like to help them weather. Over the years we have tackled everything from the death of a loved one to helping children through challenging economic times. And now Sesame Workshop is providing tools and resources to help children and parents stay resilient during divorce and separation. Read More
Since its inception Sesame Street has been committed to tackling the challenges that young children face, no matter how difficult or unorthodox it may be to discuss those topics with children. With this commitment in mind, Sesame Workshop is taking on the subject of divorce, an emotional trial many children go through. Yet many parents are uncertain how to reassure or even explain what is going on to their children.
Storyboard, a storytelling project by Tumblr’s Department of Editorial, took a deeper look at the way Sesame Workshop is handling the subject of divorce. They wrote this piece about our divorce-focused outreach efforts and created the above video. We encourage you to check out both. Read More
Hurricane Sandy was an unprecedented super storm that hit parts of the East Coast badly, and we at Sesame knew we wanted to do anything we could to help those affected by it. Fortunately, a few years ago we had created Here for Each Other: Helping Families After An Emergency, an outreach resource that we knew could be helpful in getting families through this tough time. We reached out to our various partners to offer up this resource, and were relieved to find that so many of them were already doing such wonderful work in their communities, helping families through the aftermath of the storm. In particular, a partner in our Healthy Habits for Life initiative, the US Department of Health and Human Services, Region II, (HHS) was already working with other federal agencies to support the response and recovery efforts for communities impacted by the storm. We wanted to support them in any way we could. Read More
Sesame Workshop Founder Joan Ganz Cooney and her husband Peter Peterson
On Tuesday night the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) hosted their sixth annual Heroes Gala, and Sesame Workshop co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney and her husband, Chairman Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations Peter G. Peterson, were honored at the event. Mrs. Ganz Cooney received the IAVA’s 2012 Civilian Service Award in recognition of all the work Sesame Workshop does to help military families, but in particular Sesame’s Talk, Listen, Connect outreach initiative, which focuses on providing military parents with the tools they need to discuss complex issues like deployment, relocation, injury and the loss of a parent with their children.
“Many parents don’t have the right words to help explain to their child what happens when they must go away, how to reassure their children when they return from service injured, or worst of all, when a parent dies,” Mrs. Ganz Cooney said while accepting the award. “But with the right language, support, and the help of the Muppets, we are able to help. Since its launch, our Talk, Listen, Connect initiative has grown to reach virtually every U.S. military family with young children.”
Mrs. Ganz Cooney went on to thank the IAVA, saying, “It makes it all the more meaningful to receive this honor from an organization that is working every day to advocate for and support our veterans and their families.”
To learn more about the Talk, Listen, Connect initiative, click here. To get a firsthand look at the resources and tools we provide for military families, visit Military Families Near and Far.
On Sunday over 20,000 people will march down New York City’s 5th Avenue in celebration of and appreciation for our nation’s veterans, and Sesame Workshop is proud to stand alongside them. The annual New York City Veterans Day Parade, the largest in the country, has been just one part of the many ways Americans show our thanks to our veterans and their families for 93 years.
This year, Sesame Workshop did a little something extra to say thank you: Associate Design Director of Special Projects Louis Henry Mitchell created the above painting as a special way of saying thank you to all the men and women who either currently or once served in our nation’s military and their families. On Thursday Mitchell and other members of the Sesame Workshop team presented it to the United War Veterans Council, which puts on the Veterans Day Parade. Read More
After Hurricane Sandy struck, Sesame Workshop sprang into action. Elmo took to the airwaves to calm children and help them understand the disorder surrounding them. We used our social media outlets to make sure as many affected families as possible were aware of the resources and tools offered by our hurricane outreach kit. And this Friday we’re airing a very special episode of Sesame Street. Read More
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood lead poisoning is considered the most preventable environmental disease among young children, and yet it is one of the most common environmental health problems for American children under the age of six. That’s why UnitedHealthcare and Sesame Workshop partnered to provide parents with helpful prevention information, encourage lead testing and share tips to help families stay healthy. Read More