David Cohen is the director of domestic research for Sesame Workshop.
When my friend tried to explain her divorce to her 8-year-old niece, her niece reflected “It’s going to take me awhile to process this.” Her niece’s reaction might be considered precocious, but it also shows the deep emotions children grapple with when faced with such a life altering effect.
Young children need ongoing and sensitive help from trusted adults who approach this event in age appropriate ways. In fact, young children are at risk of having more adjustment problems than older children, since they are still in the early process of developing the coping skills necessary to deal with all the changes associated with divorce. They also often blame themselves for the divorce or feel that it is their responsibility to bring their parents back together. Read More
Literacy. It’s been at the heart of Sesame Workshop’s mission since Sesame Street began airing in 1969. We’re continually spreading our message of laughter and learning to new countries and utilizing emerging technological platforms to educate American preschool children. All the while, literacy remains a central element of Sesame Worskhop’s curriculum, no matter where or how a child is seeing our educational material.
That’s why we’re excited to partner with the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation whose National Early Childhood Education Initiative focuses on literacy for young children, particularly those in underserved communities around the U.S. The partnership will develop a program that provides children, parents, caregivers, and facilitators with tools to support young children’s development of essential literacy skills around rich conversations, reading, and writing. This program will provide rich and engaging opportunities for IICF Volunteers. Read More
Fire Safety, disaster recover, serious illness, healthy eating habits, and divorce. All of these topics have been covered as part of Sesame Street’s long and diverse history of outreach initiatives. When Sesame Street first aired in 1969, there were significant obstacles to Sesame Street reaching children in poor communities – the very children the show most wanted to reach. Meeting this challenge became the Workshop’s first outreach program. Read More
Over 43 seasons, Sesame Street has featured hundreds and hundreds of famous actors. Due to the law of averages, a certain percent of those actors will have gone on to receive a coveted Academy Award statuette. And it seems that those averages are correct, because a lot of Sesame’s famous friends have an Oscar on their mantle.
Just last night, at the 85th annual Academy Awards, Anne Hathaway won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance of Fantine in Les Miserables. Hathaway stopped by Sesame Street a few years ago to sing “I Want a Snuffy for Christmas” with her pal Big Bird. Now you can add her to the long list of Oscar winners who count Big Bird and the rest of the Sesame Streetgang among their friends. Read More
Jason Milligan is the Creative Director of Sesame Workshop’s Innovation Lab.
“Kids won’t know what that is!”
It wasn’t the first time I heard Sesame Workshop Curriculum Specialist Sue Scheiner say that, but this time it threw me a bit. We were reviewing Elmo’s World episodes to include in Season 2 of Kinect Sesame Street TV. Sue was referring to a camera. The camera was an old fashioned black box with a huge flashbulb attached. And one old fashioned camera in Mr. Noodle’s hands wouldn’t have mattered so much if any of the cameras in the piece looked and worked like current cameras do. But they didn’t. They were clunky film cameras and video cameras with tapes. There was a scene in which a kid takes film to a store to have it “developed.”
Not one person in the entire episode took a picture with a phone, or was able to immediately show Elmo his image on the back. The way today’s kids experience digital photography (often on smart phones) is completely, utterly, totally different than it was only a few years ago, apparently when this episode of Elmo’s World was made in 2005. Seriously. I checked the air date. It freaked me out a little. The same way it freaked me out when my niece pointed to a phone booth in a video and asked my sister what it was. Or when I explained to my kids how television used to show programs at certain times of day and you couldn’t pause or rewind or even decide which show you wanted to watch right now. Sue is right. Kids don’t know what those things are. Some Sesame content will always be relevant. Ernie will always be able to sing about the joys of bathing with his Duckie. C will always be for Cookie. But not this.
We couldn’t use Elmo’s World: Cameras. It was simply out of date.
Big Bird is an 8’2″ tall resident of Sesame Street. He wrote the letter, below.
Dear Mrs. Obama,
Wow! What a great time I had visiting you at The White House! Thanks for showing me around. I especially liked when we snuck into the White House kitchen for a healthy snack! (Most people think I eat a lot, but really I eat like a bird!). But my favorite part of our visit was getting to exercise by running and jumping and dancing around – right there in the White House!
Maybe next time you can come visit me at my home on Sesame Street again. My nest doesn’t have a West Wing, but I do have two wings that can’t wait to give you a big hug when I see you again!
When going through a divorce or separation, parents and children have a lot of questions. Young children are often confused and parents are often uncertain of how to explain such a challenging transition. On top of that, if parents and children have questions, it’s not always clear where they should look for answers.
Luckily Sesame Street’s Abby Cadabby and her friend Rocio Galarza, Senior Director of Outreach and Content Design for Sesame Workshop, are here to help. On Wednesday, February 20, Abby and Rocio will be taking questions about divorce and separation from parents, children, friends and anyone who has questions about staying resilient while navigating a divorce or separation.
Email us at email@example.com and Abby and Rocio will record an answer to your question in a video segment that will be posted online next week. In addition to your question, please include your name, age (if you wish) and your hometown so we can give say hello if your question is picked. We will also write you back directly if Abby and Rocio have the opportunity to answer your question.
Let your friends, family and colleagues know too! Everyone is welcome to send in a question. We can’t wait to hear from you.
It is hard to imagine Sesame Street without the delightful animations that teach things like letters, numbers, emotions and problem solving. Animations have been a part of the show since the pilot episodes. But back in 1969, the idea of using a series of short animations to act like “commercials” for letters and numbers was a true innovation.
When Joan Ganz Cooney created her proposal for an educational television show, she envisioned borrowing the techniques used in making TV commercials to help teach counting and literacy. Joan and the producers knew that kids were attracted to commercials on TV. What they didn’t know was whether they could successfully create short commercial-like segments for the show that would actually teach to the curriculum. Read More
Teaching children about science, technology, engineering and mathematics, known as the STEM subjects, is an imperative we here at Sesame Street take seriously. STEM is not just a major part of the television show’s curriculum; Sesame Workshop makes print books, e-books, and mobile apps aimed at teaching young children about STEM.
Teaching STEM is a passion of ours, which is why we approached Ridgefield Academy in Connecticut to see if any of their teachers wanted to use our book Simple Science Experiments with Elmo and Friends, published by Dover Publications, in the classroom. That’s when we were introduced to Jerry Nash, a science teacher a Ridgefield who saw a way to take this teaching opportunity a step further.
He had his eighth grade students at Ridgefield Academy film the first graders who conducted the experiments. Then he had a group of third and fifth graders do a voice-over for an instructional science video he made. We were blown away by the time and effort Mr. Nash put into bringing Simple Science Experiments with Elmo and Friends to life. We wanted to feature a few clips from the video (see above) in the hopes that teachers and parents might be inspired to think about new ways they can make science fun and relevant for young children.
If you would like to learn more about Ridgefield Academy and the great educational work they do, click here. If you want to get a copy of Simple Science Experiments with Elmo and Friends, click here. And Mr. Nash wanted to let you know if you have any questions about his approach to teaching science, you can reach him here.