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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

Reuters

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
MSNBC

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The Electric Company and Sesame Street Present: Military Families Near and Far

By Pam Hacker


On November 5th, Sesame Workshop launched a new collection of resources for military families at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. Families who attended the celebration on Nov. 5 were greeted by Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Commander, Colonel Carl R. Coffman, Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Principal Director of Military Community and Family Policy, Charles Milam, Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Director, Navy Captain Paul S. Hammer, and Sesame Workshop president and CEO, H. Melvin Ming. Families experienced interactive performances by Sesame Street and Electric Company characters, explored the Military Families Near and Far website and the free Feel Electric! mobile app; as well as participated in other family fun activities. In addition, families saw the debut of the new “Let It Out” music video, which further supports self-expression and feelings vocabulary.

The new initiative was created in cooperation with the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. The goal of these resources are to extend the reach and effectiveness of the already existing program. This includes a bilingual website with information designed to connect families to one another and provide information to how to deal with the unique problems facing military families. In addition, Sesame Workshop is especially excited about FeelElectirc! a mobile app that encourages children to explore and express their emotions.

To date, Sesame Street’s military families initiative has provided significant resources for military families with preschool children experiencing the effects of deployments, when a parent returns home changed because of a combat-related injury and coping with the death of a loved one. With the help of The Electric Company, this new phase expands efforts to reach elementary school kids, 6 to 9 years old, find the right words to express their emotions as they experience difficult military transitions.
Sesame Street and The Electric Company are thrilled to introduce Military Families Near and Far, which expands our Military Families Initiative to elementary school children and their parents,” said H. Melvin Ming, president and CEO of Sesame Workshop. “During this month of the military family, I can’t think of a better way to renew our commitment to military families and to let them know we care and are here to help.”

For more information, see the full press release here.

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November 01, 2011

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Emergency Preparedness Kits Distributed in 15 Provinces in China Free of Charge

By Beatrice Chow


Following the first phase of the educational media outreach initiative to provide emergency response  resources for children and their families in China, Sesame Workshop, together with the China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF) and MSD announced today that they will begin distributing emergency preparedness content. Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street; CYDF, best known for launching the “Project Hope” program to help provide underprivileged children with access to education throughout China; and MSD, a global healthcare leader, launched the outreach initiative in December 2010 and the first phase distribution in April, 2011.

Sesame Workshop is committed to working with educators to create dynamic content in order to provide Chinese children with the cognitive and social skills needed to reach their highest potentials. One component of the project is to provide tools to address the needs of children in the aftermath of natural disasters and to support the development of Hope Primary Schools in poverty-stricken rural areas.

The second phase of Outreach addresses emergency preparedness. With news and learning resources dedicated to help children and their families recover from disasters, there are limited resources and instructions to help get families prepared for emergencies before they occur. To address the importance of emergency preparedness, the partners worked closely with CYDF to evaluate the materials to ensure the contents are appropriate and effective for Chinese children and their communities.

Currently, 75,000 kits have been distributed across 15 provinces in China that have been either prone or recently experienced a natural disaster. This kits include educational DVDs, which help children learn how to deal with natural disasters in an engaging way, a parent/caregiver magazine that teaches families how to develop an emergency plan and a children’s activity book which extends their knowledge with fun and useful exercises. The goal of these kits is to prepare families for the event of a natural disaster so that they can be ready to deal with whatever may come.

For more information, read the full press release here.

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