SEL shines on Sesame Street

A dedicated PreK-2 channel will help educators align early childhood initiatives, state standards, and kindergarten readiness goals

A new partnership between Sesame Workshop and Discovery Education leverages social and emotional development and learning for a whole-child approach that will target early learners in grades PreK-2.

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit media and educational organization behind Sesame Street, and Discovery Education‘s K-12 digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place. The new Sesame Workshop-branded early learner channel will include high-quality video content; lesson plans and educator resources; interactive games and activities for kids; and family partnership supports–all focused on a whole-child approach.

Incorporating social and emotional competencies into early learning is critical, and it’s especially important for children who are entering preschool for the first time–they are “pandemic babies” who likely missed group early learning opportunities due to social distancing and pandemic policies.

“We know that children are just barely emerging out of social isolation. This coming school year for 3-year-olds will see the COVID-born babies hitting our school systems, and we need to pay attention to that,” said Akimi Gibson, Vice President & Educational Publisher, Sesame Workshop.

The resources will also help educators identify where learning disruptions are most pronounced–and they’ll also be able to identify strengths, including unexpected strengths, children developed during the pandemic.

“We have to pay attention to not just what we’re going to learn in terms of strategies, but we also have to understand how to develop those competencies that otherwise would have been propelled forward if children were in group settings,” Gibson said.

The Sesame Workshop channel, with innovative teaching and learning solutions, will be available in the fall on Discovery Education’s learning platform. Beginning with curricular resources designed to address new and continuing needs associated with interrupted schooling and prioritized by Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSR) funding, the content comprises social and emotional development and wellness; foundational academic skills in math and literacy; and a social studies-aligned curriculum focused on positive and healthy identity and sense of belonging. At the center of these resources will be research-based content from across the wide range of Sesame Workshop media, including Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and more.

“Sesame Workshop’s success can be attributed to its collaborative, research-intensive approach to the development of highly engaging, child-centered media and programs,” said Pete Weir, Chief Product Officer, Discovery Education. “Their offerings reflect both a deep understanding of children’s developmental needs and the best ways to address those needs. We are excited to partner with Sesame Workshop to bring the first dedicated PreK-2 channel to our award-winning K-12 platform, and are eager to collaborate with educators nationwide on their efforts to align their early childhood initiatives, state standards, and kindergarten readiness goals.”

Additional content areas, such as STEAM, healthy habits, and coding are being prioritized through educator feedback and will be added in the future.

Sesame Workshop’s mission is to help children grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. That mission fuels everything, and the partnership with Discovery Education will support those goals, Gibson said.

Laura Ascione