Sesame Street addresses deployment
When an emotionally upsetting event occurs, schools bring in counselors to help get kids talking about what they are feeling. But for children not yet in school, Sesame Street has been an excellent way to help preschoolers and their parents broach sensitive and scary subjects.
Adoption, divorce, marriage, getting a new sibling, death (The wonderfully written Mr. Hooper episode still makes me cry), 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina have all been carefully and thoughtfully presented. So, the only surprising thing about Sesame Street doing a program on military deployment is that it took them this long.
The Children's Television Workshop has put together a free bilingual kit to help military families cope with the feelings and concerns children will have over the deployment of a parent or family member. The kit includes a Sesame Street DVD of Elmo and his mother dealing with the deployment of his father, a parent/caregiver magazine, and an activity poster for the child.
According to the website, over half a million children under the age of five are waiting for their active duty, Guard or Reserve, mother or father to come home. If you haven't experienced it firsthand, a trip to an airport usually yields the heart-stoppingly painful sight of a soldier kissing his pregnant wife good bye while their little boy playfully avoids his kisses trying to keep things normal and his daddy near.
A Sesame Street episode can't take the sadness away, but it can help. The military episode will air on PBS (check local listings) and can viewed anytime on their website.
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