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April 18, 2013

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Erica Branch-Ridley Receives Multiethnic TV Leadership Award

By Sesame Workshop


Erica Branch-Ridley poses with her award.

Sesame Workshop is proud to announce that Erica Branch-Ridley, Vice President and Executive in Charge of Production of Sesame Learning is a member of the first-ever class of recipients of the Multiethnic TV Leadership Awards. The awards, which honored 11 television executives, celebrate the viability of the multiethnic television business. Ms. Branch-Ridley’s award was specifically for her work in the area of programming distribution and technology.

Erica Branch-Ridley is a cherished member of the Workshop community and the entire staff is excited to hear about her award.

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April 18, 2013

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Research on the Research: Meta-analyzing Sesame Workshop and Finding Good Things

By Marie-Louise Mares


Chamki from India's Galli Galli Sim Sim entertains and educates children on the streets of Delhi.

Marie-Louise Mares is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Sesame Street has always been unique in terms of how much research goes into designing each episode and evaluating how effective the program is. That research happens not only in the US, but also for the various versions of Sesame Street around the globe. Extraordinary amounts of work go on, conducting research studies in countries as diverse as Bangladesh, China, India, Tanzania, Mexico… Read More

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Cookie Monster: The Ultimate Impatient Optimist

By Sesame Workshop


Today, 2.5 billion people don’t have access to toilets. Investing in sanitation leads to healthier people and stronger communities. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Water, Sanitation & Hygiene program focuses on the development of tools and technologies that can lead to radical and sustainable improvements in sanitation in the developing world. An important component is reaching children and families with critical health messages. A new grant to Sesame Workshop will promote hygiene and sanitation among children and families in Bangladesh, India, and Nigeria. Cookie Monster was so excited to work with the Gates Foundation that he sat down with the Impatient Optimist, the foundation’s blog, and answered a few questions. Sesame Workshop looks forward to working with the Gates Foundation in the coming years.

Impatient Optimist: Cookie Monster, we know you are very busy. Why have you taken the time to speak with us today?

Cookie Monster: Well, me heard that if me be very patient, there will be chocolate chip cookies available at the end of this interview. Me not see them yet, but me optimistic. Read More

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Jackie Robinson on Sesame Street

By Susan Tofte


Susan Tofte is Sesame Workshop’s Archivist.

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” – Jackie Robinson

Of the hundreds of celebrities who have appeared on Sesame Street, Jackie Robinson is one of the most notable. Workshop co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney met with Robinson in 1969 when she was working to build awareness and outreach prior to the show’s November premiere. Reaching out to Robinson and his connections made sense. Read More

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April 10, 2013

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The ABCs and 123s of Preschool Apps

By Michelle Newman


Michelle Newman is a Senior Curriculum Specialist at Sesame Workshop.

Touch screen devices have dramatically changed the way young children interact with technology. Preschoolers no longer have to struggle with a mouse or a laptop touch pad – they can now use their fingers to tap, drag, and trace items directly on the screen. When we started to develop one of our first robust iPad apps in 2010, we were extremely optimistic about all of the affordances of this new technology. What surprised us was the number of new challenges we needed to overcome to create a quality developmentally appropriate learning experience for young children. Read More

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April 08, 2013

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What Ever Happened to Don Music?

By Joe Hennes


Joe Hennes works at Sesame Workshop and is the co-proprietor of Tough Pigs.

Over the course of Sesame Street’s 43-year history, characters come and go.  Not everyone can be a Grover or Cookie Monster, lasting decades while still staying fresh and entertaining.  For every Big Bird, there’s a Roosevelt Franklin.  For every Bert and Ernie, there’s a Biff and Sully.  Despite the fact that these characters aren’t around anymore, we still hold a lot of love for them and the joy they gave us over the years.

One of our favorite examples is the great Don Music, the absent-minded composer who fought through his frustration to pen such classics as “Mary Had a Bicycle” and “Drive, Drive, Drive your Car”.  He showed us that creating art isn’t easy, and the final result isn’t always what you expected it to be. Read More

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April 03, 2013

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Jane Henson, 1934-2013

By Sesame Workshop



It is with great sadness that we relay the news of the passing of Jane Henson, wife of Jim Henson and a beloved member of the Sesame Street community. Born Jane Ann Nebel, she married Jim Henson in 1959 and gave birth to five children: Lisa, Cheryl, Brian, John and Heather. In addition to being a loving wife and mother, Mrs. Henson was an artistic collaborator of her late husband’s, performing Muppets alongside him on both Sesame Street and earlier projects. The entire Sesame Street community mourns her passing. She will be missed.

To learn more about Jane Henson’s life and achievements, visit The Jim Henson Legacy.

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Sesame Street Swings by the White House for the Annual Easter Egg Roll

By Graydon Gordian


The beloved Sesame Street Muppets have a long and storied history of visiting the White House. But that doesn’t mean we’re any less excited when we get invited back! This past weekend Gordon, Abby Cadabby, Rosita, and Elmo stopped by home of the first family to take part in the White House’s annual Easter Egg Roll.

The theme this year was “Be Healthy, Be Active, Be You!” The day was focused on ways families could eat healthy and stay physically active, a cause to which both the first lady Michelle Obama and Sesame Workshop are dedicated.

To learn more about the White House’s Easter Egg Roll, click here. To learn more about Sesame Workshop’s commitment to encourage healthy living habits in our children, click here.

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A Behind the Scenes look at Sesame Street in Afghanistan

By Graydon Gordian


Since November 2011, Baghch-E-Simsim, the Afghan version of Sesame Street, has brought laughter and important lessons about literacy, numeracy and cultural awareness to the children of Afghanistan. We’re excited to share with you this behind-the-scenes look at how one of our newest international co-productions gets made. To learn more about how Baghch-E-Simsim gets made, click here. To learn more about our work in Afghanistan, click here.

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March 28, 2013

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Sesame Workshop Launches Road Safety Campaign in Australia

By Graydon Gordian


Sesame Workshop is best known for our commitment to the mental and emotional development of children around the world. But we’re also committed to the physical safety of children. That’s why, as part of the U.N.’s Decade of Action for Road Safety, we’ve launched a new major road safety campaign in Australia.

Between 2006 and 2008, there were 6 deaths and 430 seriously injured pedestrians aged 0-14 in the province of Victoria alone. Driveway run-overs in the province resulted in the death of 14 children under the age of six and 73 serious injuries between January 2000 and September 2012.

Our campaign, spearheaded by Sesame Street’s Elmo and Grover, hopes to educate children, parents and teacher on simple road safety practices so in the future children’s lives can be saved. The campaign, created in partnership with Australian child safety advocates Kidsafe, the TAC, RACV and Holden, includes a storybook entitled Elmo Stays Safe: How Furry Little Monsters – and Children – Play Safely. The stories, games and activities in the book help encourage important safety tips like holding a parents hand while crossing the street, treating driveways like roads instead of safe play spaces and using correct restraints when traveling in a car. Additionally, a Community Service Announcement featuring Elmo and Grover is being broadcast on television and social media platforms and urges children and families to play in safe places away from driveways and roads.

To learn more about our efforts to encourage road safety, click here.

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