• Articles:
  • Leadership
  • Aspire
  • Innovate
  • Ins & Outs
  • Education
  • GRADUAN News

5 Times Sesame Street Taught Kids Real-Life Problems

Posted on 2020-06-10 03:00:00

It’s not all fun and games at Sesame Street

The Sesame Street crew is famous for their fun and happy adventures that have brought smiles to the faces of children since 1969. On top of that, the world-famous kids’ classic comes with its fair share of helping children understand real world adult problems in the most delicate ways – what better way to teach kids than through muppets!

Here are some of our favourite moments.

COVID-19
In a collab with CNN to help kids understand COVID-19 and how to prevent it, in the popular Town Hall segment, the news network’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta talked about face makes and hand washing with Elmo, Big Bird shared his experience coping with loss (something he knows quite well – read below!), and Cookie Monster gave tips on how to eat healthy while in quarantine.

Check out the first Town Hall here!

Divorce
We dare you to watch this without crying. Gordon, one of the human characters, walked in on Elmo’s art session with Abby and Rosita. After Elmo shared his drawing of his family, Abby then presented two separate drawings: One with her mum and the other with her dad.

Elmo asked why they don’t just stay together to which Abby said they’re divorced. Gordon then explained what it means to be divorced. After a while, we see real-life interviews with kids living with divorced parents and the struggles they go through.

They even have a website dedicated to helping kids cope with divorce here.

Autism
The introduction of Julia into the Sesame Street cast was truly a breath of fresh air. In this episode, we see Big Bird walking in on an art class with Elmo, Abby Cadabby and Julia. We later see that Julia is not very responsive when Big Bird tries to talk to her but eventually answers after a while of coaxing.

Julia’s behaviour strikes Big Bird as strange at first but after the muppets explain why Julia is the way she is, Big Bird begins to understand Julia better and they become friends!

This episode is one of my favourites as it encourages kids and adults alike to see autistic children in a different, more positive light that never fails to warm my heart.

Meet Julia here!

Grieving
Another ‘watch without crying’ challenge here! Despite Big Bird being a big bird, he’s actually still an innocent child getting used to the ups and downs of life.

Back in 1982, Mr. Hooper (played by Will Lee), one of the first human characters on Sesame Street passed away and instead of recasting that role, the producers used it as an opportunity to address the heavy topic of death with their young audience.

In this episode, Big Bird decides to sketch portraits of all his adult friends and gifts it to them. He holds on to the portrait of Mr. Hooper exclaiming “I can’t wait till he sees it!”. The room goes silent.

The adults then explain that Mr. Hooper is gone and won’t be coming back. The whole idea of death overwhelms the big yellow bird but later learns the importance of acceptance.

Racism
Sesame Street has been a strong advocate against racism long before many of our readers even learned to walk. They released a statement in relation to the killing of George Floyd which you can read here. Over 25 years ago in 1993, they released an episode dedicated to addressing the issue.

In the episode, we see Gina and Savion, human friends of different races playing basketball along Sesame Street. They then go into a store and receive a nasty phone call from a person who appeared to be unhappy to see them together.

Gina then explains to Telly, a pink muppet that whoever called was unhappy to see Gina and Savion playing together because of their skin colour to which Telly replies “What does colour have to do with being friends?”

Nothing at all!

Sesame Street is the perfect educational show for kids and even for you if you’d like to learn a thing or two about the social issues the world is currently facing.

What’s your favourite kids’ show? Tweet us at @graduan or reach out to us at digital@graduan.com.

Image by Cedric Yong from Pixabay

By Ahmed Wafi


Interesting article? Share it with your friends!