Big Bird, Elmo, Abby and the rest of the Sesame Street gang address the important issue of bullying in a special episode, “The Good Birds Club,” airing on PBS on Monday, October 17 (check your local listings).
Bullying has been identified as a major concern by schools across the U.S. with 56% of students having personally witnessed some type of bullying in school. As the first preschool show tackling this subject, Sesame Street’s anti-bullying episode hopes to educate young viewers about bullying and encourage preventative actions to combat aggressive behavior. The episode is part of a larger Sesame Street anti-bullying campaign including:
- Two new additional episodes addressing other bullying-related social-emotional issues.
- A robust parenting topics page at www.sesamestreet.org/bullying providing caregivers with videos, anti-bullying tips and “view and do” activities for children designed to promote healthy friendships as well as respect and understanding of each other’s differences.
- A special 5-part video series Happy To Be Me: An Anti-Bullying Discussion with experts in the fields of child psychology, advocacy, education and health, delivering important messages for parents and children.
- The full street story of “The Good Birds Club” will be available online for parents to watch with their children.
The new episodes will introduce young children to the ongoing issue of bullying and teach them the pro-social skills necessary to prevent and address this critical problem. In “The Good Birds Club,” when Big Bird gets bullied by another bird in the neighborhood, Elmo and Abby help children understand the difference between reporting (when someone is in trouble and needs help) and tattling (getting someone in trouble when no one is hurt). Additionally, the episode encourages children to seek the help of an adult they trust when faced with challenging situations and provides safe strategies for empowering young children to help their peers in need.
In companion episodes “The Big Bad Wolf Huffs and Puffs Slimey” and “Baby Bear’s Baby Doll,” which will air on October 18 and October 21 respectively, a variety of issues associated with bullying are addressed. The additional episodes not only encourage young children to be proud about who they are, accepting of others and to build healthy relationships with kind words, but also help children build empathy by learning to understand the perspective of others, especially when another peer is being hurt or bullied.
“It is important to start early with bullying prevention and Sesame Workshop is taking a proactive approach,” said Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, Vice President of Education and Research for Sesame Workshop. “As the first preschool show addressing this issue, Sesame Street hopes to foster mutual respect and self-esteem in young children and encourage the development of key pro-social skills in order to reduce aggressive behavior and prevent bullying.”
As part of the campaign, Sesame Workshop created a five-part video series, Happy To Be Me: An Anti-Bullying Discussion, to address bullying and the steps parents, educators and children can take to prevent and stop the behavior in preschoolers. Available on Sesame Street’s website and hosted by Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, Vice President of Education & Research at Sesame Workshop, the panelists are:
· Dr. Catherine P. Bradshaw, PhD – Deputy Director, Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence
· Trudy Ludwig – Children’s Advocate and Author, My Secret Bully and Confessions of a Former Bully
· Dr. Joseph L. Wright, MD, MPH – Senior Vice President, Child Health Advocacy Institute, Children’s National Medical Center
· Mia Doces – Curriculum Developer, Committee for Children
· Dr. Jamie Ostrov, Ph.D. – Associate Professor of Psychology, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
Finally, special online resources for parents including the full “The Good Birds’ Club” street story, parenting tips and “view and do” activities can be found at www.sesamestreet.org/bullying.
PBS KIDS also believes that every child deserves the support and acceptance of their peers. This new episode of Sesame Street is a key part of an on-going effort to provide anti-bullying programming and resources for parents and teachers. In early 2012, PBS KIDS will premiere a one-hour WordGirl movie focused on understanding the power of words and the negative impact of bullying. Jane Lynch guest stars as Miss Power, a mysterious alien superhero, who convinces WordGirl to use insults as short cuts to victory. Additional programming throughout the year includes a brand new episode of Arthur, focused on appreciating differences and coping with bullies.
Produced by the nonprofit educational organization, Sesame Workshop, Sesame Street is funded in part by a grant through the Public Broadcasting Service and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers. Sesame Street is underwritten in part by Beaches Resorts, PNC,UnitedHealthcare, Earth's Best Organic and The Good Egg Project.
About Sesame Workshop
Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization that revolutionized children’s television programming with the landmark Sesame Street. The Workshop produces local Sesame Street programs, seen in over 150 countries, and other acclaimed shows, including The Electric Company, to help bridge the literacy gap. Beyond television, the Workshop produces content for multiple media platforms on a wide range of issues including literacy, health and military deployment. Initiatives meet specific needs to help young children and families develop critical skills, acquire healthy habits and build emotional strength to prepare them for lifelong learning. Learn more at www.sesameworkshop.org.