Sesame Workshop has created a few initiatives over the past few months in order to teach and support families during the coronavirus pandemic. Sesame Workshop and the LEGO Foundation are partnering to bring you a special Sesame Street episode, Elmo’s World News. Elmo is hosting a pretend news program from his bedroom and he is calling on Muppet correspondents and children from around the world to share the ways they are continuing to play and learn while staying safe.

The 25 minute special episode will air in over 13 languages across the Middle East, Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and more as part of Sesame Workshop’s Caring for Each Other initiative.

Weather Reporter Grover shows how he uses his imagination to “bring the outside inside” by adapting his favorite outdoor activities to create indoor fun. Special Correspondent Cookie Monster tells viewers about his “Things That Make Me Happy” box, a simple activity families can do together to practice mindfulness and gratitude with everyday objects. Reporter Raya shares a playful and interactive update on ways children around the world maintain daily routines, while the reporting team of Basma and Jad pop in with breaking news on how children are managing and expressing their “big feelings” through movement and dance.

“With so many children around the world navigating new routines, it’s more important than ever to give families the tools they need to cope with challenges and foster playful learning at home,” said Sherrie Westin, President of Social Impact and Philanthropy. “Play is critical to a child’s healthy development, and that’s especially true during times of uncertainty. Together with the LEGO Foundation, we can harness the power of play to meet the evolving needs of families everywhere and help them build the resilience that will carry them through these tough times and beyond.”

The Elmo’s World News special joins active Play to Learn programs in Bangladesh and the Middle East supporting children affected by the Rohingya and Syrian refugee crises as well as in South Africa. This initiative provides tools, resources and content for teachers, caregivers and parents to access play-based learning activities that build children’s physical, cognitive, social, creative and emotional skills.

“Play-based education is vital for children’s psychological, emotional, and cognitive health and development, and hones the resilience they need to overcome challenges like our current reality,” said John Goodwin, CEO of the LEGO Foundation. “With more than 1.5 billion children displaced from traditional learning environments, the LEGO Foundation is committed to finding creative solutions to accelerate learning through play amid the pandemic. We are proud to collaborate with our partner, Sesame Workshop, to ensure that children have access to education and develop the critical skills needed to thrive in today’s constantly changing world, and in the future beyond the pandemic.”

Sesame Workshop’s Caring for Each Other initiative was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. SesameStreet.org/caring is regularly updated to meet the needs of families as the situation evolves, with resources designed to help parents provide comfort and manage anxiety, as well as help with creating routines, fostering playful learning at home and staying physically and mentally healthy.

—Jennifer Swartvagher

Featured photo: Sesame Workshop 

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