Unlocking Children’s Well-Being

Sesame Street

Sesame Street (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The percentage of children with an incarcerated parent has increased nearly 80% since 1980, yet few resources exist to support the 2.7 million children who have a parent in state or federal prison.  Recognizing that children need tools to express emotions around an incarcerated parent, Sesame Street addressed this issue head-on by creating a toolkit within their Little Children, Big Challenges program and adding Alex, a Muppet whose parent is incarcerated, to the cast.

The Little Children, Big Challenges program strives to provide adults and children with coping strategies and emotional resources to feel comforted and secure during difficult times.  Little Children, Big Challenges:  Incarceration supports young children and families as they attempt to cope with this life-changing circumstance – allowing children to express their emotions and helping caregivers maintain routines and establish age-appropriate communication around incarceration.  The program is designed to:

  • Support, comfort, and reduce anxiety, sadness, and confusion that young children (ages 3-8) may experience during the incarceration of a parent
  • Provide at-home caregivers with strategies, tips, and age-appropriate language they can use to help communicate with their children about incarceration
  • Inform incarcerated parents that they can parent from anywhere, and provide them with simple parenting tips highlighting the importance of communication

 

Sesame Workshop worked closely with advisors and partners who aim to help families cope with the incarceration of a loved one, including those specializing in early childhood education, mental health and counseling, parenting programs and foster care. Together, they created a variety of multimedia resources for caregivers and children with an incarcerated parent, using the following platforms:

  • App:  A Sesame Street:  Incarceration App for adults to use on tablets and phones, available on Google Play™, the App StoreSM, and the Amazon Appstore for Android on Kindle Fire
  • DVD:  A Sesame Street DVD featuring a Muppet story, live-action films showcasing real children and families, and an animated segment
  • YouTube:  A Sesame Street YouTube page featuring playlists of videos related to the initiative
  • Facebook:   A Sesame Street Facebook site for sharing Sesame Street’s free educational resources with adults
  • Website:   A Website featuring these resources:
    • Guide for parents and caregivers
    • Online toolkit with downloadable versions of all materials and links to training webinars
    • Tip sheet for incarcerated parents
    • Training webinars to educate service providers on how to use the resources with children and families
  • Children’s Storybook – A Sesame Street Storybook aimed to educate children, available to download or view online

BRAVO to Sesame Street for evolving their curriculum to address our nation’s most pressing issues – and for providing tools and resources for children and families to create a well-community!

 

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In my role as Project Specialist, I manage numerous virtual trainings and in-person meetings with an excellent track record of organizing and executing seamless events. I am a Wide Angle Youth Media Board Member, a non-profit organization that provides Baltimore youth with media education to their own stories, and serve as the Business Advisory Committee Chair. Read more.