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June 23, 2014

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Sesame Street Wins Six Emmys!

By Dan Lewis


The Daytime Emmy awards were presented over the weekend and we are elated to share that Sesame Street took top honors in 6 categories:

* Outstanding Pre-school Series
* Outstanding Writing in a Children’s Series
* Outstanding Directing in a Children’s Series
* Outstanding Achievement in Multiple Camera Editing
* Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing – Live Action
* Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Live Action

These new honors bring the show to a new total of an astounding 159 Emmy awards. We could not be more proud of our incredible team – from the cast, to the producers, directors, editors, musicians and everyone behind the scenes who make Sesame the gold standard that it continues to be, and which the academy continues to recognize as the outstanding preschool series for five years running.

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June 10, 2014

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With Food, Hope, and Cookie Monster

By Sesame Workshop


This post is by Enid A. Borden, Founder, President and CEO of the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger.

By the time we arrived to set up for our special event on May 17, families were already lined up and waiting in the parking lot. My foundation, the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH), was hosting a healthy eating event for the community of McDowell County, WV, and the families were waiting for the moment when they would finally see the star they knew about but never dreamed they would actually meet – Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.

Our Healthy Food, Healthy Fun, Healthy Future event, which marked the conclusion of a year-long, intergenerational nutrition education project underwritten by a grant from the Walmart Foundation, encouraged all the people of McDowell County to celebrate and practice the healthy lifestyle habits we had been teaching to many of them. After enjoying a free, nutritious lunch, families visited our special farmers market where they could learn how they could easily incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their meals. Each family left the market with a complimentary bag of produce consisting of fresh kale, tomatoes, corn on the cob, apples, zucchini and dried pinto beans.

As the adults visited the market, a local radio station that was on site for the event kept children dancing, while they waited in line for their turn to jump in the bounce house and race each other around an inflatable racetrack on oversized tricycles.  There were many things to see and do, but nothing so engaged and delighted old and young alike as meeting Cookie Monster. When the children saw Cookie, they ran to him, hugged him tightly and stayed by his side.  It was clear that they craved affection, and Cookie was a safe one to approach first. Before long, one little girl ran over to me and took a flying leap into my arms too. These children deserve more than they get most days. That Saturday was different.

Make no mistake about it. Most of the parents and grandparents are doing their best to provide for the children, but there isn’t much in the way of opportunities and resources to make that possible in this isolated County. McDowell County, WV, is the poorest in West Virginia and one of the poorest counties in the nation. In McDowell County, nearly three out of five children live in a home with no biological parent present. This leaves many grandparents with the daunting task of raising their grandchildren with limited resources and without adequate access to affordable, nutritious food. NFESH-commissioned research shows that grandparents living in a home with a grandchild are two times more likely to face the threat of hunger than their peers who do not reside in a home with a grandchild. That, combined with widespread poverty, unemployment, a prevalence of illegal drugs and prescription drug abuse, the shortest life expectancies in the nation, and geographic isolation, leave the wonderful people of McDowell with little time and room for fun in their lives.

Our day of celebration of healthy eating brought them that, but it also delivered much more. It gave them hope and showed them how simple it could be to begin moving, one step and bite at a time, to a healthier life. Children and adults were introduced to healthy foods they had never eaten before and thanks to our friends at Sesame Workshop the children were able to spend memorable time with Cookie Monster, not just a favorite character but a hero and a friend. His long journey to meet them symbolized what the whole event was designed to show them –   that people in and outside of the community cared about them, their happiness and their future.

At NFESH we are dedicated to ending senior hunger, and we know that the best way to end senior hunger is to prevent it in the first place. By educating children about balanced meals and how to read nutrition labels and unit pricing, we are giving them the tools and knowledge they need to make healthy and budget-friendly purchasing decisions when they get older. Sesame Street’s multimedia outreach initiative Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget was given to every family at the event. Parents and children were extremely grateful to receive this kit designed to help support families who have children between the ages of two and eight, cope with uncertain or limited access to affordable and nutritious food. The grandparents were thankful for the educational materials, and the children were excited to have a book that showed Cookie Monster’s friends. The families also received Sesame Street’s Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me kit.

With every trip to McDowell, we leave a little piece of our hearts behind. We have seen the poverty and despair, but we have also seen the impact our projects have on the people, and we are committed to helping the people of the County. This would not be possible without the incredible support we’ve received from our partners. Sesame Workshop has provided the families of McDowell County with more than just tools to help the children learn to lead healthier lives; the families have been given a memory they will carry with them for years. And that’s a reason to smile.

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May 29, 2014

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Sesame Workshop’s 12th Annual Gala Honoring Joan Ganz Cooney

By Sesame Workshop


Last night, Sesame Workshop honored Joan Ganz Cooney, co-creator of Sesame Street and co-founder of Children’s Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop), for her lifelong efforts to improve the lives of children around the world at its 12th annual benefit gala. Sesame Street’s Elmo, Grover, Cookie Monster, Abby and Big Bird hosted the event at Cipriani 42nd Street which included special appearances by Diane Sawyer and Cheryl Henson, and video tributes from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama.  The evening concluded with a musical performance by Grammy Award-winning artist Michael Bublé, performing “You Make Me Feel So Young,” “Young at Heart,” and the Sesame Street classic “Sing” with the Muppets.

We are honored to recognize Mrs. Cooney for her contribution as the co-creator of Sesame Street, the award-winning children’s educational TV show. With the belief that television could help children learn, Mrs. Cooney and her colleagues launched a program that revolutionized television, dramatically impacted pre-school education and changed millions of lives for the better. Four decades later, her legacy continues. Today, Sesame Workshop has become the single largest informal educator of young children around the world.  Using the power of media, Sesame Street engages children in 150 countries by teaching literacy and numeracy, as well as crucial lessons about health, emotional well-being and respect and understanding.

Mrs. Cooney began her career as a journalist in her hometown of Phoenix before moving to New York City to become a public affairs producer for WNDT (now WNET). While there, she led a study for the Carnegie Corporation titled, “The Potential Uses of Television in Preschool Education.” That groundbreaking research paved the way for the debut of Sesame Street in 1969.

Forty-five years later, Mrs. Cooney’s contribution to children’s education continues. She is currently Chair of the Executive Committee of Sesame Workshop’s Board of Trustees and in 2007, she established the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, an innovative nonprofit research organization dedicated to advancing children’s literacy skills through digital media. In addition, the Public Preparatory Network recently announced that they are launching the Joan Ganz Cooney Early Learning Program, a tuition-free, all-day pre-K program for four-year olds in the South Bronx.

Joan has been the heart and soul of Sesame Workshop for the past 45 years. Thanks to her vision, Sesame Street has helped millions of children around the globe grow up smarter, stronger and kinder.

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May 01, 2014

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Sesame Workshop Receives Sixteen Daytime Emmy Nominations

By Jodi Lefkowitz


Sesame Workshop is celebrating 16 Daytime Emmy nominations that were announced this morning.  Sesame Street is honored to be leading the pack of children’s programs with the most nominations! We are so proud to have three of the show’s performers Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, Joey Mazzarino, and David Rudman up for Outstanding Performer and two songs “ABCs of Moving” and “Rhymes with Mando”  in the running for Outstanding Original Song.

Sesame Street’s cast, crew, and creative team were recognized in 11 categories:

Outstanding Pre-School Children’s Series
Outstanding New Approaches – Enhancement to a Daytime Program or Series
Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series
Outstanding Writing in a Children’s Series
Outstanding Directing in a Children’s Series
Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction
Outstanding Achievement in Multiple Camera Editing
Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing – Live Action
Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Live Action
Outstanding Original Song
Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design/Styling

The Workshop is also thrilled The Electric Company  and our community engagement program Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration both received nominations in the Outstanding New Approaches category. 

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April 21, 2014

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Sesame Workshop Partners with Child Care Aware of America to Support Resiliency Efforts

By Dr. Jeanette Betancourt


Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, is the Senior Vice President, Community and Family Engagement, at Sesame Workshop

Thanks to Child Care Aware® of America, Sesame Workshop’s Little Children, Big Challenges resources will reach more parents and educators than ever before, to help children develop the resilience they need to overcome everyday challenges. From saying goodbye to a parent in the morning, being patient, overcoming bedtime blues, sibling rivalry, and even relocating, the lovable and relatable Sesame Street Muppets™ can show them how. 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, and in turn grow healthy and school ready.

To help parents and children make everyday challenges into learning moments, Sesame Workshop has 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 families when and where they need them. That’s why a dedicated partner like Child Care Aware® of America is such an important relationship to the Workshop. With their established network through the Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&Rs) field, our multimedia materials about resilience will reach more than 860,000 families per year, and we can continue to develop and improve our resources using feedback from those families. This pilot program will allow CCR&Rs who are members of Child Care Aware® of America to submit requests for proposal to participate in the pilot, and distribute materials to children and families in their community. Updates around the rollout of materials and how to submit requests for proposal will be announced on this blog.

For more than four decades, the Workshop has been focused on helping children achieve their highest potential. Today we continue our efforts, with the help of partners like Child Care Aware® of America, by tackling essential skills that can help children learn and grow as they encounter new challenges every day; they also provide the adults in their lives with tools to help young children build these crucial skills in a fun and furry way that only Sesame Street can – with the help of Grover and the rest of the Sesame Street Muppets.

Sesame Workshop’s Little Children, Big Challenges initiative seeks to help children ages 2-5 in military, veteran and general public families build important resilience and perseverance skills that allow them to overcome challenges large and small. One of the most important factors in building these skills is the presence of a caring, supportive adult. This is why this new initiative is providing tools for adults to empower the children in their lives to transform everyday challenges into opportunities for growth, development, and lifelong success.

 

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February 19, 2014

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John Henson, 1965-2014

By Dan Lewis


With great sadness, we share the news of the passing of John Henson, son of the late Jim and Jane Henson and a puppeteer in his own right. He will be missed by his extended Sesame Workshop family.

To learn more about his life and legacy, please visit the Jim Henson Company’s Facebook page.

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January 30, 2014

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Join us LIVE for Elmo’s Birthday Monday Evening!

By Sesame Workshop


Guess who is celebrating a birthday on Monday, February 3rd? That’s right, Elmo! And he wants to celebrate it with you! At 7 PM ET,  Elmo will be appearing LIVE via Spreecast! And you’re invited!

 

Where: Via this Link

When: 7:00 PM Eastern Time on Monday, February 3rd  for 30 to 45 minutes.

Who: You, and bring your kids, too!

We’ll see you there!

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January 29, 2014

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Remembering Pete Seeger

By Joe Hennes


Folk singer and songwriter Pete Seeger has passed away this week at the age of 94.  While he was regarded as a pioneer of folk music, having written classics like “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” and “If I Had a Hammer,” he will also be remembered for his many appearances in the early years of Sesame Street.

His first appearance was in the first season, in which he sang several songs like “Skip to my Lou” and “John Henry.”  Through the next six years, Seeger would periodically show up on the street with his banjo to perform more songs for the kids.  In one case, his car broke down near Sesame Street, so rather than call AAA, he took it as an opportunity to make more music.

In 1974, Seeger was joined by Frederic Douglass Kirkpatrick for “Pete Seeger & Brother Kirk Visit Sesame Street,” an album featuring traditional and contemporary folk songs, accompanied by Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch.

Pete Seeger returned to Sesame Street in the late 1980s for a very brief cameo in a very memorable video.  He joined such legends as Paul Simon, Madeline Kahn, and John Candy in the classic “Put Down the Duckie.”

In 2009, Oscar the Grouch returned the favor by appearing at Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday celebration at Carnegie Hall, singing Seeger’s song “Garbage”.

Pete Seeger had a strong connection to Sesame Street’s long history, and he was responsible for introducing many children to the joy of folk music.  We are proud to count him among the celebrities who helped make Sesame Street the show that it is today.

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December 09, 2013

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A Recipe for Cooking Up a Fun and Furry Children’s App

By Karen Halpenny


Karen Halpenny is a Senior Editor, Publishing & Senior Manager, Digital Publishing at Sesame Workshop.

David Kleeman, President of the American Center for Children and Media and PlayVangelist at PlayCollective, challenged content creators to make an “ingredients” list for their educational media. Challenge accepted!

App Name: Peekaboo Sesame Street

Goals:

  1. Design an app for the youngest segment of our audience to engage them with our characters in an age-appropriate interactive way.
  2. Introduce toddlers to the basics of how to use a tablet since we know they’re using these devices in increasing numbers.
  3. Integrate some fun into learning focused on science curriculum (prediction and cause & effect).

Approximate time required: 6 months

Yield: 1 app  Read More

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December 02, 2013

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How She Got to Sesame Street: A Live Performer Tells Her Story

By Jennifer Wysong


Jennifer Wysong performs as Jenny the music teacher and Rosita in the Sesame Street Live production “Elmo Makes Music.” Sesame Street Live is produced in collaboration with the VEE Corporation.

I grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida, and began performing when I was nine years old. My third grade teacher gave me a brochure for an acting camp, thinking it would be a good outlet for my extra energy. I attended the camp and never looked back; I knew I wanted to perform. I trained hard and performed in as many shows as I could in those early years. I studied Theater Arts at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, and then made the inevitable move to New York City.

One of my college roommates and best friends joined the cast of Sesame Street Live, and he encouraged me to audition when the show visited New York in February. I auditioned a year earlier, but didn’t get the part. I was a little nervous about trying again, but I still wanted the part of Jenny, the live performer and music teacher in Sesame Street Live production “Elmo Makes Music.” My voice felt strong, but my dance skills were just a little rusty. I needed to hone my skills before the next audition, so I put on my headphones. As I heard the first notes of “Sunny Days,” I was immediately transported to my childhood and years of enjoying Sesame Street on television. I remembered the life lessons learned, the fun songs, and the many Muppet friends I came to know and love. Who could have known that years later I would become part of the Sesame Street family?  Read More

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