Sesame Street is at it again. From creating programming to comfort traumatized and displaced children to encouraging parents to include their children in the census count, Sesame Workshop continues to play its part in keeping parents and young children aware of social issues. New bilingual animated public service announcements and videos featuring popular muppets, including Elmo, were created in the hope of not only comforting children but helping to keep them safe as the coronavirus pandemic spreads. The videos encouraging self-care, hand-washing, and good health habits will be distributed globally and available in 18 different languages, according to a statement by Sesame Workshop.
The new videos include a remake of the popular Elmo song “Brushy Brush” as “Washy Wash,” as well as videos on how to sneeze properly and care for others. “Hand-washing is one of the best ways to stay healthy all year long,” a video-showcasing Rooster reminding the muppets to wash their hands before activities says. “As families around the world adjust to their new realities, parents and caregivers are looking for help in creating new routines, staying healthy, and fostering learning at home,” senior vice president of curriculum and content at Sesame Workshop Rosemarie Truglio said. “At Sesame Workshop, we’re here to support the caring adults in children’s lives as they help their children navigate these challenging times.”
The videos have been released as an addition to Sesame Workshop’s “Caring for Each Other” initiative, which launched last week. The initiative is providing content on coping mechanisms for children as well as activities to help families stay mentally and physically healthy while at home during the pandemic. In addition to providing resources on how to explain concepts to children and care for them, the initiative also has resources for caregivers on self-care. Caregivers often forget themselves amidst taking care of loved ones, so the videos remind viewers that in order to take care of someone else you must take care of yourself. Self-care is not selfish. As the common example goes, you can’t save someone if your own oxygen mask isn’t on. “Taking care of yourself is also taking care of others. We are all in this together,” the video, “Caring For Myself, Caring For Others,” says.
Sesame Workshop is not only helping to teach children good hygiene but reminding caregivers that caring for themselves is an aspect of caring for those they love. This message can also be applied to social distancing and quarantine efforts made by individuals to ensure they are not infecting others. Emphasizing that the muppets too are staying at home during this time, Sesame Street is working to normalize the changes children are facing during this pandemic and reminding them that they are not alone. By encouraging children to stay at home and practice healthy habits, Sesame Workshop is normalizing the recommendations by health experts to social distance and connecting them with fun and easy explanations. Resources on how to talk to children, including how to explain COVID-19, allow for caregivers to explain to children how social distancing is a form of caring.
“Sesame Street is there for children and families whether it’s a sunny day or a stormy one, and unfortunately many families are facing unprecedented challenges right now,” senior vice president of US social impact at Sesame Workshop Jeanette Betancourt said in a statement. “Through Caring for Each Other, we’re committed to supporting families for the duration of this crisis and beyond–equipping them with the tools they need to get through this together and look to the future with hope and optimism.”
In order for this pandemic to slow down, everyone has a part to play in being aware, staying home, and practicing good hygiene. Sesame Street is helping to teach children these practices in a fun and familiar way. Sesame Workshop plans to update its resources as the situation evolves, in addition to over 110 Sesame Street ebooks that are available for free on all major e-book platforms.
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