press releases

Sesame Workshop and Ounce of Prevention Fund Team Up for New Parent and Child Engagement Initiative

Partnership and Commitment to Action Announced at CGI America Meeting

Denver and New York, NY, June 24, 2014 – Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, and the Ounce of Prevention Fund (Ounce) announced today that they are partnering to create an innovative digital platform for early learning family engagement.  This new initiative is designed to strengthen parents’ understanding of the importance of early education and nurture social-emotional development in their children.  Sesame and the Ounce, in collaboration with the National Head Start Association (NHSA), will combine their expertise and experience in early childhood education and family engagement to develop resources for low-income communities to link families’ experiences in the classroom with parent-child learning interactions at home in support of school readiness. The new initiative was announced by Secretary Hillary Clinton as a featured Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action during the CGI America 2014 meeting in Denver.

Sesame Workshop and the Ounce will pilot the project, anticipated to launch in early 2015, with three key components to reach families with young children:

  • A mobile platform that will deliver parenting information, tips and ways to connect with children via media offerings such as videos and activities;
  • A social network that will offer parent-to-parent contributions, connections and encouragement;
  • A toolkit to complement the digital components that will support educators in strengthening relationships and building connections among parents.

“Through Sesame Street, we have always sought to engage parents and caregivers to help foster connections with children,” said Dr. Lewis Bernstein, Executive Vice President, Education, Research and Outreach. “We are excited to partner with Ounce of Prevention Fund because we believe that strengthening the links between a child and their parents and their classroom engagement is one of the best ways to transform early childhood education in America today.”

“Over the last three decades, the Ounce of Prevention Fund has seen firsthand the direct impact that engaged parents have in bridging the academic gap for at-risk children, particularly from birth to age 5,” said Portia Kennel, Ounce Senior Vice President, Program Innovation. “Through this new partnership with Sesame Workshop, we will reach even more parents with high-quality resources to help them unlock their child’s potential.”

“Parent and family engagement is a cornerstone of Head Start’s comprehensive early learning model, and we are thrilled Sesame Street and Ounce have made this significant commitment to offering innovative tools to support Head Start parents’ active engagement in their children’s education,” said National Head Start Association executive director Yasmina Vinci. “Commitments like this have the power to transform the earliest learning years for thousands of our nation’s most vulnerable children and families by offering them leading-edge platforms to help get them fully prepared to succeed in Kindergarten and life.”

Sesame Workshop and the Ounce will be identifying and seeking philanthropic support opportunities for the project over the summer. The development of the pilot program is slated to begin in the fall.

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, the landmark television program that reaches millions of children every day in more than 150 countries. The Workshop’s mission is to use the educational power of media to help children everywhere reach their highest potential. Delivered through a variety of platforms, Sesame Workshop develops research-based content – including television programs, books, games, mobile apps and community engagement initiatives – that supports early childhood learning, helps prepare children for school, and addresses developmental needs. The Workshop’s programs are tailored to the needs of specific regions and focus on topics that help young children and families develop critical skills for lifelong learning. For more information, visit us at www.sesameworkshop.org.

The Ounce of Prevention Fund is a private-public partnership dedicated to providing all children – especially those from low income families – with high-quality early childhood experiences from birth to age 5. The Ounce is a leader in developing, innovating, and advancing proven programs that focus on the physical, social and emotional development of young children.  To give children and families most in-need the best chance for success, the Ounce develops programs, conducts research, trains educators and strongly advocates for early childhood education.  Educare Chicago, the Ounce state-of-the-art school in Chicago’s South Side, has become a national model of high-quality early childhood education. Learn more at theOunce.org.

The National Head Start Association is committed to the belief​ that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in school and life.  While quality early education fundamentally transforms children, Head Start also impacts at-risk families and communities.  Head Start’s whole child model results in healthier, empowered children and families and stronger, more vibrant communities.  As a leader in early childhood development and education, NHSA is the untiring voice that represents and speaks for the more than 1 million children and their families, the more than 200,000 staff and the more than 18,000 Head Start centers in the United States.

About Clinton Global Initiative America

The Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America), a program of the Clinton Global Initiative, addresses economic recovery in the United States. Established in June 2011 by President Bill Clinton, CGI America brings together leaders in business, government, and civil society to generate and implement commitments to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, foster innovation, and support workforce development in the United States. Since its first meeting, CGI America participants have made over 300 commitments valued at more than $15 billion when fully funded and implemented. To learn more, visit cgiamerica.org.

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders year-round and at its Annual Meeting to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI also convenes CGI University, which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their communities and around the world. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 2,800 Commitments to Action, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $103 billion. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.

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Contacts:

Jodi Lefkowitz                                           Megan Meyer
Sesame Workshop                                   Ounce of Prevention Fund
212-875-6497                                          312-453-1919
jodi.lefkowitz@sesame.org                 mmeyer@ounceofprevention.org

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