"Young children face new challenges at every age and stage - that's why it's so important to help them build the skills they need to become resilient. With self-confidence and the ability to express themselves, little ones will be able to handle whatever may come their way..."

From Sesame Workshop, this multiyear, bilingual (English/Spanish) community engagement initiative for United States (US) families provides a variety of resilience resources for those who are or have been in the process of struggles associated with incarceration, divorce, and/or military service. Designed to help children ages 2-8, the multiple resources provided as part of this project are intended to provide the skills and strategies young children need to build resilience and persevere through day-to-day life as well as to handle more significant changes and transitions. It intends to provide parents, caregivers, and educators with activities and positive routines to help foster young children's resilience.

Communication Strategies: 

This initiative revolves around a number of online resources that can be accessed here. The components of LCBC's general resilience focus include:

  • A Sesame Street DVD featuring a Muppet story and music videos with children and families and a family guide with tips and strategies.
  • An Educator Activity Guide to be used in classrooms.
  • A mobile app called Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame that intends to help children learn problem-solving strategies and to provide parents with tips and activities they can use to help children navigate challenges. The app is available for tablet and smartphone on Google Play™, the App StoreSM, and Amazon for Kindle Fire.
  • An online toolkit with streaming video, downloadable Family Guide, printable activity sheets, and tips for parents and caregivers. For example, one tip is: "Help your child to name her feelings. Ask questions to help her open up. You might notice her frowning and say, 'I see that you're frowning. Did something happen today that made you feel sad?'"
  • A YouTube channel featuring playlists of LCBC videos.
  • A Facebook page for sharing free educational resources with adults.
  • Full-length video podcasts available for download here.
  • A page on the project website with downloadable resources and videos, etc. that can be used to spread the word about these resources.

 

In addition to general resilience, the initiative focuses on some sub-categories:

  • LCBC: Incarceration - Multimedia resource kits/tools were created in an effort to address the anxiety, sadness, and confusion children ages 3-8 may experience during the incarceration of a parent and in recognition of the need for communication-related strategies, tips, and age-appropriate language on the part of both at-home caregivers and incarcerated parents. Based on formative evaluation conducted with parents and caregivers, service providers, and incarcerated parents, the resources include:
    • A Sesame Street DVD featuring a Muppet story, live-action films showcasing real children and families, and an animated segment;
    • A guide for parents and caregivers;
    • A children's storybook;
    • A Sesame Street: Incarceration app for adults to use on tablets and phones;
    • A website featuring an online toolkit with downloadable versions of all materials, such as tip sheets for incarcerated parents, and links to training webinars, which are meant to educate service providers on how to use the resources with children and families;
    • A YouTube channel featuring playlists of videos related to the initiative;
    • A Facebook page for sharing Sesame Street's free educational resources with adults; and
    • Additional resources for press and partners.
  • LCBC: Divorce - Designed to aid families in communicating and expressing feelings around divorce, multimedia resource kits include: a Sesame Street DVD featuring a Muppet story about divorce and live action films with real families sharing their experiences around divorce; a parent/caregiver guide; a children's storybook; the Sesame Street Divorce App; a Facebook page; and an online toolkit that includes online versions of all resources, an extended family and friends tip sheet, and webinars and online discussion sessions geared towards service providers and families.

In addition to making them available to the general public, these multimedia resource kits will be distributed to military and veteran families through partnerships with Military OneSource, Department of Veterans Affairs, the United Service Organizations Inc. (USO), and the Military Child Education Coalition. In addition, advisors and project partners plan to help Sesame Workshop identify other distribution networks, including parenting groups, child-care professionals, educators, health-care providers, social workers, and mental health professionals. The intent is to guide partners and their networks through online training webinars as they integrate multimedia materials into their existing programmes in order to have an impact within local communities.

 

For more information about these resources, send an email to: challenges@sesame.org

Development Issues: 

Children, Education

Key Points: 

Citing this paper, Sesame Workshop understands resilience to mean "the ability to cope with and overcome challenges. As children come to understand their feelings and learn to solve problems, they build important resilience skills that help them each day....One of the most important factors in building these skills is the presence of a caring, supportive adult who can help a young child cope with challenges, both big and small."

 

Citing this research, Sesame Workshop notes that, per August 2008 statistics, nearly 2.7 million children have a parent in state or federal prison, yet "few resources exist to support young children and families coping with this life-changing circumstance".

 

Citing 2002 National Institute of Mental Health data, Sesame Workshop notes that "[d]ivorce is one of the most common major transitions in children's lives, with ultimately 40 percent of all [US] children experiencing the divorce of their parents."

See video
Source: 

Documents sent via email from June Lee to The Communication Initiative on June 5 2015; and Sesame Workshop website, accessed June 11 2015. "Sesame Street" excerpts provided courtesy of Sesame Workshop (New York, New York) © 2015 Sesame Workshop. "Sesame Street" ® and associated characters, trademarks, and design elements are owned and licensed by Sesame Workshop. All Rights Reserved.