Sesame Workshop: Changing Education From a Global Perspective
Sesame Workshop is the educational non-profit behind Sesame Street. However, this organization is responsible for much more than Big Bird. Sesame Workshop, formerly known as the Children’s Television Workshop, spearheads projects that develop and promote the academic, social and emotional well-being of children across the world.
The strength and success of Sesame Workshop’s initiatives are their dynamic use of children’s media, educational technology and community building to reach children and families across the globe. These initiatives are broken down into the following categories:
- Literacy & Numeracy: Bringing education building blocks to children everywhere
- Emotional Well-being: Helping children build the resilience they need to cope during tough times
- Health & Wellness: Helping children establish an early foundation for healthy habits
- Respect & Understanding: Fostering respect and understanding among the world’s children
These initiatives allow Sesame Street to reach a wide demographic of children and unite them under these four universal principles of education. Sesame Workshop’s efforts, in conjunction with educators and researchers, have produced measurable results; thousands of studies have shown that preschoolers who watch Sesame Street do significantly better on a range of cognitive tests than those who do not.
Sesame Street is changing the game in terms of global early childhood education, and Sesame Workshop is the brains behind the operation. Their overall mission statement is to “use the educational power of media to help children everywhere reach their highest potential,” and they’re accomplishing just that and so much more. Their sophisticated combination of children’s media, effective research and children’s interests has had a proven impact on the state of global education.
See below for some of the ways Sesame Workshop is influencing early childhood education.
- The Electric Company: Did you know that if children do not learn how to read by third grade, their education comes to a “virtual standstill”? In an effort to fight this statistic, Sesame Workshop has created The Electric Company, an initiative that connects rap, rhyme and reading skills to help close the literacy gap in young students.
- Kami on Takalani Sesame: Kami is the 5-year old Muppet on South Africa’s Takalani Sesame who also happens to be HIV-positive. The creation of this character not only puts a face to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but also makes information, awareness and advocacy accessible for young children. One inspiring statistic from the organization’s website notes that Takalani Sesame reaches “nearly 70 percent of children in urban areas and just under 50 percent in rural ones. Children exposed to the series show substantial gains in HIV/AIDS knowledge and attitudes, and communication about the disease is significantly improved.”
- When Families Grieve: This program was created to provide support and strength to children who are dealing with the death of a parent, with outreach efforts focusing both on the general public and military families. These kits include a DVD, family activities and books. Studies show that 83% of those using the kit felt they had “more appropriate language to better discuss death with [their] child.”
Sesame Workshop is making tremendous strides in other areas of education as well. Visit their Initiatives page for a full list of programs, outreach campaigns and family kits.
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