Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind the popular children's TV series Sesame Street, has teamed up with the global healthcare company Viatris Inc. to launch resources geared at helping both children and parents manage social and emotional needs during this year's unprecedented holiday season. Through new animations, including one that sees Grover of Sesame Street grapple with not visiting family, and activities, Sesame Workshop uses some of its most beloved characters to help children cope with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic's impact on the holiday season.
"We know children and families everywhere are struggling as the COVID-19 pandemic continues," Sherrie Westin, Sesame Workshop's president of social impact and philanthropy, said in a statement released Monday. "Together with Viatris, we are offering families strategies to cope with today's challenges and foster emotional wellbeing long into the future. As we head into the holidays with so many routines upended, we want to help children and their caregivers manage big feelings and spend quality time with each other, even when apart."
Managing big feelings and finding creative ways to create meaningful connections while still social distancing are just two of the topics Sesame Workshop has addressed in the first animations to be rolled out under their new Caring initiative. In one animation, Grover finds himself sad about not being able to visit with family in person. To cheer him up and help him stay connected, Grover's mother helps him make his grandmother's special soup while video chatting with his grandmother and other relatives.
In another animation, Elmo learns how to notice, name, and manage his feelings and emotions with help from his mom. In a third animation, Elmo finds himself overcome with fear that germs will get him sick and talks with his dad about ways to stay safe and manage his fears.
Sesame Workshop rolled out its first series of animations, activities, and other material on Monday with plans to continue revealing new animations and activities centered around new topics on a rolling basis. For now, the materials are available in four different languages — English, Spanish, Hindi, and Portuguese — and six different continents — the United States, India, South Africa, Latin America, and select parts of Europe and Australia. Parents should be on the lookout for future animations about the importance of keeping up routines, the importance of spending special time together, and the importance of persistence.
"Our work with Sesame Workshop stems from our mission to empower people worldwide to live healthier at every stage of life," Lara Ramsburg, Viatris' head of corporate affairs, said in a statement released by the company. "From young children to parents, grandparents, and other caregivers, we hope these new resources will be of value to anyone who has experienced the emotional impact of the pandemic on their families."
Parents will find all of Sesame Workshop's new COVID-19 coping materials at sesamestreet.org/caring.