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Sesame’s Annual Gala Celebrates Workshop’s Global Impact

By Graydon Gordian


Last night Sesame Workshop held its 10th annual benefit gala. At the gala, which was hosted by Elmo and The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart, President Bill Clinton and UnitedHealthcare were honored for the work they do on behalf of children’s health and education across the globe. The above video, an extended look at the history and global mission of Sesame Workshop, was featured, as were performances by the Sesame Street Muppets™ of  “We Are the World” and the Sesame Street classic “sing.”

To learn more about the global mission of Sesame Workshop, click here.

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A Message from Elmo and the Girls Prep Bronx’s ‘Joan Ganz Cooney’ Class

By Graydon Gordian


Over 40 years after she co-founded Sesame Street, Joan Ganz Cooney remains as dedicated to educating children in underserved communities as ever. That’s why Girls Prep Bronx Elementary School, which names each class after a successful woman its students should emulate, named its kindergarten class after Mrs. Cooney.

The students are so appreciative of Mrs. Cooney’s support that they asked Elmo to stop by the school, located in the South Bronx, so they could record a special message thanking her.

Joan Ganz Cooney became the kindergarten class’ “namesake” in 2009. Many of the students at Girls Prep come from poor backgrounds. 100 percent of the students are African-American, Latina or of multi-racial decent. Children in communities like the South Bronx are the kind of students Mrs. Cooney was hoping to reach when Sesame Street first aired in 1969. And although they move onto the class of a different inspiring woman after they graduate kindergarten, the foundations for a lifetime of education are established while the girls are in the “JGC” class, as it is known. Every girl in the JGC class has signed the Commitment to College Completion and has a college savings account established by the school.

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Sesame Workshop Launches New Sesame Street China Website

By Graydon Gordian


Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street, is committed to the future of children’s educational media in China. That’s why last week we launched the Sesame Street China website, a new online resource with activities and videos for children and tips for Chinese parents.

The site is made up of three sections, titled “The Show,” “Grown-ups,” and “Meet Sesame Street.” The first includes segments from Sesame Street’s Big Bird Looks at the World, the Chinese version of Sesame Street, created in partnership with Shanghai Media Group’s Toonmax. “Grown-ups” has professional parenting tips to help Chinese families with their children’s mental, physical and emotional development. And “Meet Sesame Street” has information about Sesame Workshop’s research model, our historical international educational efforts both inside and outside China and the Workshops’ key partners. The website is also highly interconnected with Weibo and Kaixin, two extremely popular Chinese social media networks.

Sesame Workshop first began helping Chinese children fulfill their full potential in 1983 when we collaborated with CCTV to create Big Bird in China. With the launch of the Sesame Street China website, we’re proud to continue that tradition.

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The Book on Books: the History of Sesame Street and Random House

By Graydon Gordian


Sesame Workshop Co-Founder Joan Ganz Cooney signs a contract with Random House in 1984.

In January 1970, less than two months after Sesame Street first aired, Joan Ganz Cooney, the co-founder of Sesame Workshop, received a letter.

“Our editorial staff in particular and many other of our associates have been watching the outstanding progress of your Sesame Street show with real respect and admiration,” read its opening line.

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The Story Behind Sesame Street’s Latest Spoof: The Beatles!

By Graydon Gordian


At Sesame Street we love spoofing cultural touchstones. It’s a great way to bring smiles to the faces of parents, and humoring parents along with children has been a goal of the show since its beginning. Recently, to help promote a new series of home videos, we’ve been spoofing classic posters and pop art. Our playful versions of iconic propaganda posters such as Rosie the Riveter and Uncle Sam for our “Bye Bye Pacifier” home video were very popular, but our art department’s most recent creation may be my favorite so far.

To celebrate the release of our “Singing with the Stars” DVD, Sesame Workshop artist Diana Leto created a parody of the cover of the Beatles iconic album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Diana and Art Director Mark Magner pulled from Sesame Street’s vast library of characters to create an intricate reimagining of the album’s cover art.

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April 26, 2012

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The Making of a Sesame Street Mural

By Louis Mitchell


Ed. Note: Louis Henry Mitchell is the Associate Design Director of Special Projects. He was recently tasked with drawing chalk murals of the Sesame Street MuppetsTM on the 8th floor of Sesame Workshop’s offices. The drawings have become an office favorite, so we invited Louis to talk about his creative process.

When Sesame Workshop’s CEO Mel Ming asked me to draw murals on the recently opened 8th floor of Sesame Workshop’s offices, I was excited and intrigued. Despite having been a professional artist for 35 years and having worked with Sesame for 20 of those, the murals presented some real challenges. I had worked on a black background before but never to this degree of detail, and, except for Elmo I had never drawn such large versions of some of the characters. Read More

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April 23, 2012

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New ‘Sesame Street Fun World’ unveiled in Japan

By Graydon Gordian


Sesame Workshop is dedicated to creating fun, educational experiences for children on any platform possible. TV Shows, books, tablet applications: If it can be used to educate children, we’ll explore its potential. But sometimes there’s nothing more fun than creating an entirely new world for children to roam around in. That’s what we’ve done in Japan, where a new “Sesame Street Fun World” has recently been unveiled at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka. Inside the new Elmo Exploratorium you can climb around in Big Bird’s Big Nest (a net-shaped jungle gym), build anything you can imagine at Grover’s Construction Company or have a healthy snack at Cookie Monster’s Kitchen. Check out photos from the new “Sesame Street Fun World” below, and click here to learn more about Sesame Street Japan and all of our international co-productions.

 

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Watch Sesame Workshop’s Panel on Military Families

By Graydon Gordian


Click here to download the Military Families Highlights Video

For years Sesame Workshop has been working to better the lives of military families. We’re excited to present research and analysis which demonstrates just how effective our military families initiative has been. At a panel moderated by Bob and Lee Woodruff, both widely respected journalists and founders of the Bob Woodruff Foundation, Sesame Workshop unveiled the findings of a report by the Military Families Research Institute, Russell Research and the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Uniformed Service University of the Health Science, on the ways in which Sesame Workshop’s outreach efforts have helped military families persevere through the challenging transitions that accompany military life.

The panel included an esteemed group of experts: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey; Charles E. Milam, Principal Director for Military Community and Family Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense; Patty Shinseki, Board Member of the Military Child Education Coalition and advisor for Joining Forces, a White House initiative that brings attention to the needs and sacrifices of veterans, service members, military families and their children; Dr. Stephen Cozza, Colonel USA (ret.), Associate Director, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Uniformed Services University of the Health Science; Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President Outreach and Educational Practices at Sesame Workshop; Dr. Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, Professor and Director, Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University; and Major Nico Marcolongo, USMC (ret.), Program Manager, Challenged Athletes Foundation Operation Rebound.

The panel was on Wednesday, April 18. You can watch highlights from the event above.

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Service is More than a Word: Sesame’s Carmen Osbahr on Military Families

By Graydon Gordian


Carmen Osbahr is a performer on Sesame Street. She is best known for her performance of Rosita, a Spanish-speaking monster who has appeared on Sesame Street since 1991. In addition to her work on the show, Carmen plays a major role in Sesame Workshop’s military families initiative. She and Kevin Clash, who performs Elmo, perform for the children of military families at USO shows both in the United States and abroad, making up just one part of the work we do with the USO. We recently sat down with Carmen to learn more about the work she does with the USO and how working with military families became so important to her.

To learn more about the work Sesame Workshop does with military families, click here.

Sesame Workshop: You recently came back from a USO tour. Tell me a bit about the work you’ve done with the USO in the past.

Carmen Osbahr: That was our second tour. The first one was in 2010. At the end of the year we went to Germany, where the USO took us to two military bases. It worked out so well that this time they took us to Guam and Hawaii. It was really cool.

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April 05, 2012

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Sesame Street Celebrates Baseball’s Opening Day

By Graydon Gordian


Baseball season is back and here at Sesame Workshop we’re excited. Ever since the great Jackie Robinson appeared on Sesame Street‘s first season to help children learn the alphabet, baseball and baseball players have been a huge part of keeping our educational content fun and engaging. Baseball has been a demonstrative tool in countless scenes from the show, such as the scene featuring Grover above. Some of the shows most beloved celebrity guests have also been baseball players: Who can forget Mookie Wilson and Keith Hernandez’s appearance in the classic “Put Down the Duckie”?

In order to celebrate Opening Day and the long tradition of featuring baseball on Sesame Street, Sesame Workshop archivist Susan Tofte dug up old photos from some of the times baseball players have hung out with Big Bird, Elmo and the rest of the gang.

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