Ed. Note: Susan Tofte is Sesame Workshop’s archivist.
How would you update a classic? Take a treasured story from one era and spruce it up for a new century’s readers?
Sesame Workshop has produced over 1200 books in a variety of formats since the early 1970s. Part of the philosophy of our publishing group is the willingness to tell stories in whatever formats will attract and reach preschoolers. Animated book apps and e-books are the most recent formats in which Sesame Street characters have come to life. For the Workshop, an eagerness to create books in emerging digital formats is tempered by the need to balance innovation with our mission of education. It is a delicate balancing act, but one that the Workshop’s publishing group has pulled off time and time again. Read More
Cinemagic students during a class at Sesame Workshop
Ed. Note: Robert Harvey is a student at De La Salle College in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where he writes music.
I recently attended an educational workshop at Sesame Workshop in New York as part of an international film festival hosted by Cinemagic, a youth charity organization based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Cinemagic aims to eliminate societal boundaries by bringing people tuogether from all backgrounds who want to break into the film and music industry. It offers opportunities like the one I received: I came over to New York and attended film festivals and classes at places like Sesame Workshop. Read More
Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns. We have approved no campaign ads, and, as is our general practice, have requested that both campaigns remove Sesame Street characters and trademarks from their campaign materials.
A few days before the first Presidential debate I talked with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien about Sesame, not knowing that with all the issues we face in this country, the Presidential election would come down to a referendum on Big Bird! But that is what Governor Romney made it when he said he liked Big Bird, but would cut PBS funding.
I had tried to explain that Sesame Workshop as an independent, non-profit organization cannot just depend on PBS for funding, and that most of our revenue comes from private contributions and from licensing fees from our characters.
But that’s only half the story. Sesame Workshop has created a financially sustainable model to fund production of our educational programming here and around the world. But Sesame Street would not exist were it not for PBS and its local stations, which is the distribution system for Big Bird and friends to reach all children across the United States, particularly the low income children who need us most.
There have been over 80 million graduates of Sesame Street in the U.S. since 1969, and longitudinal studies have shown that children who grew up watching Sesame Street had 16% higher grade point averages throughout high school!
A CNN poll said 7% of the American public think that PBS gets as much as half the US budget! 30% think it’s 5%. In reality it’s 0.014%. Let’s keep that in perspective and also not forget the return on that investment: millions of children who have benefited from early childhood education brought to them by the letters, P. B. S.!
Sesame Street has been a proud partner of PBS for 43 years, and is dependent on PBS to distribute our commercial-free educational programming to all children in the United States. At a time when improvements in school readiness are recognized as being much needed for a significant number of America’s preschoolers, PBS’s ability to connect Big Bird and Friends to these children is essential. We highly value that connection. Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, educational organization. We do not comment on political campaigns, but we’re happy we can all agree that everyone likes Big Bird.
Lynn Chwatsky is Sesame Workshop’s Vice President of Outreach Initiatives and Partners. She has been overseeing the work the Workshop does with military families since 2006.
When we think about the challenges of military life, we sometimes forget the transitions the youngest members of our military families go through. Our service members’ young children are faced with a number of uniquely difficult circumstances: repeated relocation, the deployment of a parent, homecomings, injuries, even the death of a parent – to name a few. For years, Sesame Workshop has been providing resources that help both military parents and their children stay resilient during those trying transitions, and now those bilingual (English and Spanish) resources are available on our new, free Military Families mobile application.
The Sesame Street for Military Families app includes videos, articles, storybooks and caregiver guides on how parents and children can communicate and express their emotions about challenging transitions.
Sesame Workshop has long been dedicated to the well-being of military families and their children. We reach out to families wherever they are: online, on mobile devices, even on the road. Our partnership with the USO, which brings The Sesame Street/USO Experience for Military Families to thousands of families around the world, has provided infinite smiles and messages of love and support.
As technology evolves, new ways to help children through challenging transitions have emerged. That’s why Sesame Workshop uses online resources like our FamiliesNearAndFar.org website, which provides digital tools for military children, and social media like our Sesame Street for Military Families Facebook page to create an online community for sharing these resources. Our Feel Electric! app for military kids proved that mobile apps could deliver much needed content to help children express themselves during tough transitions. From those successes we knew we needed to provide the grown-ups in these same military families with resources on the device they rely on more and more – that is why we launched the Sesame Street for Military Families mobile app.
As India surges on the global stage, early education here has never been more important. With 165 million children under age 8, India’s preschools face a daunting task: creating a new generation of global citizens with creative minds and critical-thinking skills that can help the country continue to thrive and compete.
Indian families are eager to give their children the best advantages in a highly competitive world. But India’s current system struggles to deliver. While there are pockets of excellence among India’s preschools, major gaps exist in availability and quality. In many places, preschool lessons are a downward extension of the primary curriculum, relying on memorization and a didactic teaching style that aren’t appropriate for the youngest learners.
Ed. Note: Sonia Manzano has played Sesame Street’s Maria since 1971. Her first novel, The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, was recently published by Scholastic Press and can be purchased here. Special thanks to Sonia for taking the time to contribute to the Sesame Workshop blog.
You never know what you’ll come away with watching Sesame Street. Even me – and I’m on the show! I recently watched two episodes and came away with a new appreciation of Muppets, a lesson in comedy, and a sweet memory of my mother. Read More
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Sesame Workshop CEO Melvin H. Ming and Takalani Sesame's Kami
Throughout Latin America, Africa and Asia there are numerous health risks that threaten women and children. Diarrhea, pneumonia, malnutrition and obesity extend across borders and impact millions. That’s why we are reaffirming and deepening our commitment to the United Nation Secretary General’s Every Woman Every Child movement. The movement aims to mobilize and intensify global efforts to improve the health of women and children around the world.
This season on Sesame Street, Elmo is starring in a brand new segment: Elmo The Musical! During the creation of the segment, we went behind the scenes to show you how this rollicking, music-filled math adventure got made.