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April 30, 2013

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Illuminating the Experience of Military Children

By Graydon Gordian


April is the month of the military child, and as it comes to a close we want to provide you with some information to help illuminate the experiences of children in military families. It’s important to remember both the unique challenges children from military families face and the resilience skills they possess that help them to thrive when facing those challenges. Sesame Workshop remains committed to providing military families with the resources they need to ensure their children achieve their highest potential.

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April 29, 2013

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Translating a Sneeze

By Kurt Swenson


Kurt Swenson is an associate producer for Sesame Workshop’s international co-productions.

Permit me to introduce you to a couple of our Irish friends. The big purple one you see on the left in the picture above is Potto Monster. He’s a jovial, caring, slightly neurotic inventor. The redhead with the big ears on the right is Hilda the Hare. She’s a rambunctious and energetic Irish Hare. And they’re the best friends who populate Sesame Tree, our adaptation of Sesame Street, produced for the children of Northern Ireland. Read More

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April 24, 2013

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Wonder Child: Richie Havens on Sesame Street

By Joe Hennes


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

Folk singer-songwriter Richie Havens passed away this week at the age of 72. In 1969, he brought his unique voice and rhythmic guitar style to Woodstock, where he performed as the festival’s opening act. And in 1975, Havens brought the same raw talent and enthusiasm to Sesame Street.

Richie Havens was brought into the studio to record four songs for the sixth season of Sesame Street, all of which were captured in one day of filming. His best known contribution was “Wonder Child”, a beautiful tune celebrating imagination and the innocence of youth. Read More

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April 19, 2013

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More Tragic Times, Helping Families Cope

By Sesame Workshop


Once again families are coping with how to explain tragic and scary news events to their children. These events shake our very foundation, as our sense of security erodes with each incident. In times such as these, it is important to reassure your child that you, their teachers, law enforcers, and members of their community are doing everything possible to keep them safe from harm. Children are resilient and can use coping strategies to help them deal with their fears. As a caregiver, you know your child best and can tailor your communication about these news events in an age-appropriate and sensitive manner.

Here are some tips to help you and your children cope with frightening events:

Providing Reassurance 

* As parents and caregivers, it is important to first calm your own fears before talking with your child. Children will first react to your level of fear and anxiety. To help you plan what you will say to your child, talk to friends, neighbors, and your child’s teacher to get their advice. Please take care of yourself by limiting your television viewing and seeking comfort from your family and community.

* Be available and provide physical comfort. In fearful times, children need to be reassured that their parents and caretakers have their family life under control and are comforted by having their loved ones physically close to them. This family time reassures them that they and the whole family are safe. Hugs and special comfort items also help them to cope with their fears.

* Try to keep a normal routine. Children will be less anxious if life is as stable and predictable as possible. To the degree possible, stick to your usual schedules and routines.

* Avoid watching television coverage. Older children who know what is happening are often traumatized by the ongoing news coverage. For the younger children, they may interpret the ongoing news coverage of an event to mean that it’s actually happening over and over and possibly occurring in their neighborhood.

* Listen and allow your child to ask questions. Create an atmosphere during together time with your child to allow him or her to freely express his or her thoughts and concerns. Once you have an idea of the source of fear or anxiety, you can have an open dialogue with your child.

Coping with Emotions 

* Help your child deal with frightening times by discussing activities you can do together to feel better (e.g. drawing pictures, writing letters, reading, playing games). Resilient children learn that although they might feel sad, angry, or anxious, these emotions will change. They will not always feel this way and there are things they can do to feel better.

* Children need to know that it’s okay to express their feelings in their way. Your child may want to talk about his or her emotions openly or may prefer drawing pictures, writing stories, or taking comfort by reading books, listening to music or playing games.

* Empowering your child with a sense of control of his or her life is also beneficial to coping with this situation. Involve your child in decision making about activities the family can do together, and for older children, discuss strategies for maintaining their activities while being mindful of their safety.

 

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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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