Funding from International Fund for Ireland is allowing two educational resources based on the second series of the locally made show to be distributed free of charge over the coming months to all pre-school groups, nursery and primary schools across Northern Ireland.
The show deliberately ties in with the Personal, Social and Emotional Development aspects of the Northern Ireland curriculum. The Education & Library Boards have worked with Early Years to produce Let’s Play and Learn Together Again (pre-school) and Out and About with Hilda 2 (foundation stage / children aged 3-6). DVDs feature material from the Sesame Tree show along with themed activity cards and detailed teachers’ guides. There’ll also be information sessions to help teachers and practitioners get the most from the resources.
Sesame Workshop take fun and learning pretty seriously. At this afternoon’s launch event, Shari Rosenfeld (a VP at Sesame Workshop) explained that the resources were:
“... designed to be both educational and entertaining, focusing on promoting social inclusion and allowing this project to have a longer term impact on today’s young children.
Research conducted by the Centre for Effective Education at Queen’s University into the effects of Sesame Tree’s first series on young children’s attitudes and awareness found evidence of an association between the degree to which children watched the show and a small but positive change in their willingness to be inclusive of others in general; their interest in participating in cultural events associated with their own and other communities and increased awareness of the wider environment.
We are confident that providing in-depth resources to enhance that experience in the classroom will only deepen Sesame Tree’s impact.”
Sounds like the next natural step would be for Sesame Tree to go up to Stormont later in the year to launch a revamped strategy for Cohesion, Sharing and Integration. A suggestion that would be likely to be swiftly denied by the programme makers and funders! But one that might be worth considering ...