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'Sesame Street' Muppet girls from around the world visit US television show

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Wed, Feb 7th 2018 12:40 pm
Characters from China, South Africa, India bring messages of cultural exchange & understanding to kids, families
Sesame Workshop has announced a four-episode "Sesame Street" event that draws on the workshop's global co-productions to bring this season's mutual respect and understanding curriculum to life.
Since 1970, Sesame Workshop has been creating local versions of "Sesame Street" in countries around the world, complete with original characters played by local performers and curricula tailored to meet the specific needs of children in each region. This month, "Sesame Street" Muppet girls from the show's co-productions in India, China and South Africa will be integrated into episodes' storylines, sharing their unique cultures with Elmo, Cookie Monster, and all their friends. This new run of episodes marks the first time an ensemble of international "Sesame" characters has visited the U.S. production.
Episodes featuring international girls and storylines will air on HBO every Saturday from Feb. 10 through March 3.
These international visitors and storylines tie directly into season 48's mutual respect and understanding curriculum. Building on last year's "kindness" theme, this season works to foster cultural competencies - interpersonal tools and skills that can help kids understand their own cultures, respect and appreciate others' cultures, and recognize similarities between the two.
The workshop said young children notice racial, cultural and other differences as a matter of course, but they need context to understand their world and be better neighbors. In our increasingly connected and challenging world, "tolerance" is not enough; that's where cultural competencies come in. By modeling curious and respectful interactions with people of different backgrounds, the "Sesame Street" crew shows kids that similarities are easy to find and differences are worthy of celebration.
It's no coincidence all the visiting characters are girls, either. Girls' education is at the heart of many of Sesame Workshop's global productions. Characters like Chamki (India), Lily (China) and Zuzu (South Africa) serve as positive role models for girls and boys alike, challenging the social norms and stereotypes that prevent girls from reaching their potential, the workshop noted.
"Inquisitive, bold and compassionate, Sesame's international girls are wonderful allies as kids build empathy," said Brown Johnson, EVP and creative director, Sesame Workshop. "From a creative standpoint, we welcomed the chance to share some of the beautiful characters our international colleagues have created with children and families here in the United States, crafting stories that showcase not only the girls' cultures, but their individual strengths and personalities."

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