ADL and Sesame Street Team Up on New Anti-Bias Preschool Education Project
New York, N.Y., October 22, 2001 … At this time of national tragedy, children want answers as much as adults do. With that in mind, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and Sesame Workshop, creators of the acclaimed series Sesame Street, announce a new and unique anti-bias education project for parents and educators of preschool-age children, The Miller Early Childhood Initiative of A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute.
"While there is no vaccine against hate, we know the only antidote is education, and this project is a great way to begin the fight," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "We cannot think of a better way to relate to children than through the characters of Sesame Street, one of the most beloved and documented resources for teaching children how to accept others."
"A child responds far better to lessons about tolerance and diversity from someone speaking in their voice who is recognizable to them from the start," said Gary E. Knell, President & CEO, Sesame Workshop. "Today's generation of parents, who grew up on Sesame Street themselves, are now watching the show with their own children, who are learning the same lessons." Two kickoffs launched the program, one on October 18th at the Carole Robertson Center for Learning in Chicago, and one on October 22nd at the Bright Horizons Family Solutions Center in Manhattan.
A Unique Collaboration
Seeing a need for a comprehensive anti-bias training program for early childhood educators, ADL and Sesame Workshop teamed up to collaborate on The Miller Early Childhood Initiative of A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute. The goal of the Initiative is to assist educators, families and caregivers in creating and sustaining bias-free early childhood programs and homes that encourage children to appreciate diversity at an age when the seeds of prejudice can begin to take root. To achieve this, ADL's trained facilitators will deliver workshops to early childhood educators, families and caregivers while supporting them with three print resources to use in their programs and homes. Research and experience have shown that by preschool age, many children have begun to acquire negative feelings about themselves as well as others. This program will help to address these feelings so children can develop a healthy appreciation of themselves, along with an appreciation of people who are physically and culturally different.
Materials and Resources
All of the resources of The Miller Early Childhood Initiative feature characters created by Sesame Workshop, including Elmo, Cookie Monster, Bert and Ernie and Big Bird. In addition to a poster that supports the discussions and goals that the program highlights, three bias-free foundations workbooks provide further resources to challenge stereotypes and show how diverse people solve a conflict together.
The Early Childhood Activities for Families offers guidance for parents on how to talk to your child, expose your child to diversity, choose toys and books that reflect the world around your child and how to be aware of your own biases when choosing the language you use in front of your children.
The Early Childhood Guidebook for Educators is designed with four goals of anti-bias education in mind. They are:
Additionally, the guidebook explains to the educator how to review his or her surroundings to ensure the environment in which the program is to take place is prepared to be inclusive to all children and sensitive to cultural differences.
- Nurturing a child's construction of knowledge, positive self-identity and group identity
- Promoting a child's comfortable, empathetic interaction with people from a diverse background
- Foster a child's critical thinking about bias
- Cultivate a child's ability to stand up for themselves and for others in the face of bias
Educators and parents will also receive a copy of the Early Childhood Resources manual which contains reading lists, suggested music for children, Internet resources and the references from the two guidebooks for families and educators.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was founded in 1913 to "stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike." ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all. A leader in the development of materials, programs and services, ADL builds bridges of communication, understanding and respect among diverse groups through a network of 30 regional offices in the United States and abroad.
ADL's A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute, created in 1985, is an international anti-bias and diversity education program used by schools, universities, corporations and community and law enforcement agencies throughout the United States and abroad. A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute programs provide practical, experiential, hands-on training with skills to challenge prejudice and discrimination, to foster intergroup understanding and to equip participants to live and work successfully and civilly in a diverse world.
Sesame Workshop is a not-for-profit educational organization that stands alone in its ability to creatively help solve major educational and developmental needs that affect children around the world. For over 30 years, the Workshop has created innovative and engaging media to help all children reach their highest potential. The organization grounds its work in research to understand how multi-media platforms help children learn, develop and grow. Best known as the creators of Sesame Street, Dragon Tales and Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat airing on PBS, the Workshop continues to break new ground with Noggin, the only 24-hour kids' thinking channel. Find the Workshop online at www.sesameworkshop.org
The Miller Early Childhood Initiative of A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE Institute was made possibly through generous sponsorship of the Harvey L. Miller Family Foundation, based in Chicago.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.