Sesame Street in Communities Resiliency Tools Are Helping Families Cope with ACEs
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Sesame Street partnered to help families cope with traumatic experiences and foster nurturing connections between children and the caring adults in their lives. Understanding that childhood experiences lay the foundation for children to grow to be productive and successful adults, Sesame Workshop launched an initiative in 2017 to help children cope with ACEs. While trauma can seriously impact a child’s development, children are remarkably resilient, and the effects of trauma can be lessened if they receive comfort and support.
With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and other funders, Sesame Workshop developed a series of tools and resources to build coping skills and foster nurturing connections between child and the caring adults in their lives. These new materials are part of Sesame Street in Communities and include videos, storybooks, and digital activities that are research-driven and produced in consultation with experts in childhood development, brain development, and trauma. These tools, which are being used by staff at the Universal Parenting Places, highlight strategies that can be used by social workers, therapists, health care providers, and educators that, combined with the consistent presence of caring adults, are proven to lessen the impact of traumatic experiences on young children.
The materials, in English and Spanish, feature the Sesame Street Muppets that children know and love—and that parents trust. For example, “Comfy-Cozy Nest” features Big Bird talking through his big feelings and envisioning his nest as a safe space, and seven “Mantra Moment” videos feature Elmo, Abby Cadabby, the Count, and other Muppets modeling simple coping strategies like “Count, Breathe, Relax,” “I Can Let My Feelings Out,” and “Give Yourself a Hug.”
In addition to content for children, the Universal Parenting Place staff have access to professional development resources and adult-facing content, including a first-of-its-kind animation for provider training and for providers to use with parents and caregivers to help them understand the impact of domestic violence from a child’s perspective; simple strategies for parents and community providers that can be used easily and repeatedly; and professional development workshops and webinars.