The “Sesame Street” Muppets are stepping up to help America’s families deal with life under the COVID-19 health emergency.
Sesame Workshop announced Wednesday a major expansion of its Caring for Each Other initiative to help children and parents cope with issues arising from the coronavirus pandemic. The new content — developed with financial support from AT&T and Walgreens — features “Sesame Street” characters like Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Rosita, Bert and Ernie, Grover and Cookie Monster.
The first set of resources, available Wednesday at sesamestreet.org/caring, covers everyday challenges like missing friends and loved ones, alongside key public health messages like dos and don’ts for face coverings. Additional topics in the weeks ahead will include coping with the illness of a family member, financial insecurity, grief and how to gradually transition back to pre-pandemic life.
New videos include “Cookie Monster Snack Chat: Try Hummus and Carrots” and “Learn to Belly Breathe with Rosita.” Other content includes free full episodes of “Sesame Street” on PBS Kids; tips about how to talk to kids about the pandemic and creating routines in the “new normal”; online learning games; and coloring sheets.
“These are stressful days for everyone, and children and families are struggling in their own ways,” Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, senior VP of U.S. social impact at Sesame Workshop, said in announcing the content expansion. “Together with AT&T and Walgreens, we can help families through the different challenges and transitions they are experiencing during this pandemic — giving them the tools they need to build hope for sunnier days ahead.”
With the introduction of the broader “Caring for Each Other” resources, Sesame Workshop also is kicking off a new campaign to celebrate families of essential workers, including pharmacists, doctors, nurses, grocers, childcare providers, custodial staff and U.S. Postal Service workers.
New content to be released in coming weeks includes a special Sesame Street Muppet video thanking these “Super Families”; ideas for ways to show love while keeping a safe distance; and strategies for parents to help little ones cope with the unique challenges their families face. In addition, Sesame Workshop plans to roll out bilingual resources for children of frontline workers and new professional development tools for community providers like healthcare providers, social workers, and educators.
Separately, Sesame Workshop noted that episodes of “Sesame Street” are also available on HBO, PBS stations, and the PBS Kids channel, in addition to the expanded offering of free on-demand episodes on PBS Kids digital platforms. In addition, “Sesame Street” will be available on WarnerMedia’s HBO Max at launch on May 27.
AT&T’s contribution is part of its $10 million Distance Learning & Family Connections Fund, created to give parents, students and teachers the tools they need to stay connected and continue learning.