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Mel Gravely

Head Start and Sesame Street are natural partners

Photo courtesy of Sesame Street in Communities

We received an email from the ECLKC a couple weeks ago, which promoted their February vlog titled “Home is Where the Love Is: Homelessness, Children and Families.” In that vlog, Dr. Deborah Bergeron, the Director of Head Start, visits the iconic Sesame Street studios to talk to Kama Einhorn, creator of Lily, a muppet character on the show that is experiencing homelessness.

Sesame Street first aired in 1969, right about the time that Head Start (started just four years earlier) was beginning to come into its own as one of President Johnson’s War on Poverty programs. Since then, Sesame Street has become a touchstone television program for millions of children throughout the United States and world.

They certainly do not take that responsibility lightly. In its 50 years on the air, Sesame Street has tackled such complex topics such as bullying, racial discrimination, incarceration, and divorce, all while explaining them in ways that children can understand.

To expand on that commitment, the TV show began the “Sesame Street in Communities” initiative, which provides “resources, strategies, and support for community providers” that addresses the “developmental, physical, and emotional” well-being of children.

Sound familiar? Sounds a lot like Head Start’s philosophy of caring for the whole child, which incorporates nutrition, physical and mental health, parent involvement and social services, and education so that children can meet their full potential.

It’s hard to deny the symbiotic relationship between the two organizations. Both began in the 1960s, a time when the US cultural climate was particularly transformative. Both have large platforms, Sesame Street through the power of media, and Head Start through the power of local infrastructure. And both have the same goal: to leverage those platforms to help children who are in need.

As an example, the recent vlog with Dr. Bergeron and Ms. Einhorn talks about homelessness among families with young children (definitely watch it!), and explores the many free resources compiled by Sesame Street that Head Start agencies can use in their program. While they focus specifically on homelessness for this video, there are many other resources available through the Sesame Street in Communities initiative, from staying healthy to dealing with community violence.

At the end of the video. Dr. Bergeron says to Einhorn, “Thank you… for all the support that Sesame is giving Head Start right now… This is a great partnership and I think there is a lot that we can do together.”

I think that Sesame Street in Communities summarizes it perfectly when they write: “Because we’re all in this together.”

We want to know if you’ve used Sesame Street resources in your classroom. Have you heard about Sesame Street in Communities? Have you played an episode in your classroom as a learning tool? Do you encourage parents to watch the program with their own children and talk about the issues it raises?

Leave your feedback in the comments below!

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  1. Erin Sabina says:

    This natural partnership is why Teachstone has a partnership with Sesame Street to support our online CLASS data and professional development platform, myTeachstone.

    Head Start + Teachstone + Sesame Street = improved interactions and outcomes!

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