This Brazilian adaptation of the children's show Sesame Street, produced by nonprofit educational organisation Sesame Workshop and São-Paulo-based broadcaster TV Cultura, draws upon the communication strategy of entertainment-education, and the tool of television, to engage children between the ages of 3 and 5 years. Vila Sésamo originally aired from 1972-1977 on TV Cultura, and was Sesame Street's first international co-production. The new version of the show launched on TV Cultura in October 2007 and on TV Cultura's channel Rá-Tim-Bum in January 2008.
Vila Sésamo is an early childhood development initiative featuring the following: locally produced live action films and original songs (including a new alphabet song in Portuguese); Letter and Number of the Day segments; local segments on pre-literacy, math skills, and cognitive skills; and interactive educational content from Sesame Workshop's Elmo's World, Play With Me Sesame, and Global Grover. In addition to classic Sesame Street characters, Vila Sésamo features Garibaldo (Big Bird’s tall yellow cousin) and Bel (an energetic pink female monster), two Brazilian Muppets who live in the colourful neighbourhood of Vila Sésamo. The set was designed to reflect architectural elements typical to various distinct regions of Brazil, resulting in a neighbourhood that is meant to be a Brazilian "mosaic."
As of this writing, Sesame Workshop is working with local consultants to explore possibilities for extending the educational impact of Vila Sésamo through outreach initiatives designed to reach lower-income or underserved communities. Using the strategy of partnership, Sesame Workshop plans to work with local organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and schools to develop and distribute print materials, storybooks, activities, games, web components, and guides with tips for educators and/or caregivers.
Early Childhood Education.
Sesame Workshop explains that, "[a]lthough Brazil has invested considerable resources to increase access to primary education, only 33% of children under six attend preschool, leaving many youngsters minimal opportunities to develop the fundamental skills essential for later scholastic success....With Brazil's almost universal television penetration, Vila Sésamo can serve as a powerful media tool to help new generation of Brazilian children prepare for school and life."
Sesame Workshop, TV Cultura.
Email from June Lee to The Communication Initiative on June 18 2008.