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July 30, 2013

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Arigato Big Bird: Sesame Street in Japan

By Tomoko Nagano


Tomoko Nagano is Senior Editor, International Book Publishing at Sesame Workshop. She was also previously an editor with Sesame Street Magazine. 

Achieving “Big in Japan” status is an honor for select cultural icons. Sesame Street is one of them. Japanese audiences of all ages have embraced the characters for generations, so the brand is familiar to young and old, just as it is in the United States. It is also well-known because of longstanding English language learning materials, and the broadcast itself is an unintentional and unconventional way many in Japan learn English. Today, Sesame Street fans are fashionable young adults who grew up watching as children. Aiming at this audience, Japanese publisher Takarajima launched its second Sesame Street Mook (the name is a combination of “magazine” and “book”) title on July 19, 2013.  Read More

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Teaching Science by Telling Stories

By Jessie Renee Hopkins


Jessie Renee Hopkins is a Senior Writer and Game Designer in Sesame Workshop’s Department of Content Production. Dave Glauber is a Writer and Interactive Designer in Sesame Workshop’s Content Innovation Lab.

When my colleague, Dave Glauber, and I were asked to co-lead a workshop on Narrative Design at this year’s Interaction Design and Children (IDC) conference, we had no idea it would culminate with a giant cat face. As it turned out, we couldn’t have been happier that it did.

The IDC conference’s mission is to bring together designers, researchers, and educators to explore ways of creating better interactive learning experiences for children. Our goal for the workshop was to guide conference participants through adding a story to exhibits at the New York Hall of Science. We wanted find out if narrative elements would influence visitors, kids especially, to spend more time with the exhibits. The hope was, if we could do a better job of drawing kids in, we could do a better job of helping kids learn.  Read More

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July 15, 2013

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A History of Mr. Hooper’s Store

By Susan Tofte


Susie Tofte is Sesame Workshop’s former archivist.

Every good neighborhood has a gathering place.  For 44 years, that gathering place on Sesame Street has been Hooper’s Store.

The show’s creators wanted the set of Sesame Street to differ from other kids’ shows on television at the time.  Rather than stage the show in a clubhouse or other fantasy setting, the show’s action would take place on a realistic urban street.  Inspiration for the set came from the neighborhoods around New York City – complete with brownstones, a subway stop and a corner store.  The first season welcomed viewers into the apartments of Bert and Ernie and Susan and Gordon.  Neighbors met up on the stoop of 123 Sesame and the central gathering place for the neighborhood was Hooper’s Store.  Read More

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July 01, 2013

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Let’s Get Ready! How Partnerships Enable us to Effect Change Around the World

By Anita Stewart


Anita Stewart is the Senior Vice President of Global Strategic Partnerships and Development here at Sesame Workshop.

Natural disasters affect children and families all over the world. When they happen, they are inevitably difficult and confusing, especially for young children. For years, Sesame Workshop  has developed materials for young children in their families centered around emergency preparedness for this exact reason. We can’t predict when a disaster will strike, but if children know what to do and families have a plan, the fears from being caught off-guard can be mitigated.

Children everywhere are affected by emergencies. Take, for example, the over 100 million children under the age of seven in China. That’s more than the entire population of Canada, Chile, and Spain — grown-ups included! — combined. Emergency preparedness is just as important for them as it is for children anywhere else, and to fulfill our philanthropic mission, the team here at Sesame needs to find ways to help them.  Read More

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June 24, 2013

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Sesame Street Swings by the Library

By Ariel Birdoff


The Publishing Group's Karen Halpenny reads to children at the New York Public Library.

Ariel Birdoff has been a member of the Sesame Workshop Publishing Group for more than eight years.

As part of Sesame’s Count Me In volunteer program, the Workshop’s Publishing Group is spending two Friday mornings a month in the company of preschoolers, caregivers, and librarians at the nearby Riverside Branch of the New York Public Library, just up the block! As lovers of books and champions of children’s literacy, we wanted to find a way to spend some of our volunteer hours working with both books and children. We were very lucky to find children’s librarian Rachel Evans and her beautiful children’s room so close by. To be able to help out in our own neighborhood feels extra special!  Read More

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June 17, 2013

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Sesame Visits Families at Rikers Island

By Graydon Gordian


The 2.7 million children in the United States with an incarcerated parent are in a uniquely difficult situation. They feel a number of complex emotions: sadness, shame, guilty, anger. Yet they often don’t feel they are allowed to talk about their experience, partly because the adults in their life oftentimes don’t know how to talk about the experience either. That’s why Sesame Workshop launched Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration, a multimedia, bi-lingual (English/Spanish) outreach initiative with stories featuring Sesame Street’s beloved characters that help children feel reassured, loved and supported.  Read More

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June 13, 2013

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An Inside Look at In-School Testing

By Courtney Wong


Courtney Wong is a research specialist for Sesame Workshop’s Department of Education and Research.

Sesame Street content has been exploding on the digital market with new apps and website games for your preschoolers! With the ever-expanding digital landscape of design and technology possibilities, we must keep learning and adapting our work. Handheld touch devices and apps did not even exist when we were kids, so we need all the help we can get!  Read More

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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 05, 2013

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Cookbooks for Kids in the Age of the App

By Pamela Thomas


Pam Thomas is an editor in Sesame Workshop’s Book Publishing department and the author of several cookbooks.

Cooking with kids is not only an excellent way to find delectable  “quality time” with the family, it’s a perfect tactic for sneaking in teachable moments, all while  mixing up a batch of good-for-you muffins!  How about math: How many cookies make a dozen?  Or science: Why does butter melt when it’s put over heat? How does a cake rise when it’s put in an oven?  Literacy: What foods begin with the letter “C”?  And even a bit of etiquette: Let’s set a pretty table for supper! Or, let’s take a plate of cookies to the nice lady who lives next door!

And then, of course, there’s the whole issue of good health as it relates to food. Research has shown that Sesame Street’s furry, friendly, familiar characters can have a powerful influence over young children, guiding them to develop positive eating habits and to delight in exercise—strong ingredients for lifelong health. Sesame Street’s ongoing initiative, “Healthy Habits for Life,” proves that young children are more interested in healthy foods and good eating practices when these subjects are reinforced in fun, creative, colorful, and active ways.  That’s what Sesame Street cookbooks have strived to achieve. Read 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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