CNN and ‘Sesame Street’ to host a town hall on going back to school

Momshies, how are you and your kids adjusting to learning in the New Normal?

As families try to navigate school amid a deadly pandemic, “Sesame Street” and CNN are teaming up for the “The ABCs of Back to School, A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Families.”

From staying safe in classrooms to making the most of virtual learning, the 60-minute special will provide tools and information for families dealing with unique circumstances of school in the era of coronavirus.

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and anchor Erica Hill will moderate the hour. They will be joined by Sesame Street Muppets and school-aged children in a variety of learning environments, with Elmo going to preschool during the week, Big Bird in hybrid learning and Rosita fully remote.

The trio will be joined by Abby Cadabby and her brother Rudy, Super Grover and other friends from Sesame Street, along with Sesame Workshop’s Vice President and Education Publisher for Sesame Learning Akimi Gibson.

This special airs Saturday, September 12 at 10pm on CNN (SKYcable ch 27SD | 181HD in Metro Manila and ch 503SD | 705HD in regional areas).

CNN and Sesame Street’s townhall showed parents how to talk to kids about racism

These are very disturbing and confusing times. Adding to difficulties that the global community is facing because of COVID-19 are the difficult issues of racism in the US, as well as the Anti-Terrorism Bill and other concerns locally.

We may or may not choose to discuss these issues with other adults but children may be looking at us, their parents, to shed some light on the things they hear about when they turn on the TV, hear the adults talking or when they speak among themselves.

In a 60-minute TV special titled “Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism,” CNN and Sesame Street answered questions from kids and parents alike regarding racism and the recent US-wide protests as well as called for embracing diversity, empathy and understanding.

Joining hosts CNN commentator Van Ross and CNN anchor Erica Hill are Sesame Street characters such as Big Bird, Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Gordon and Maria, as well as resource persons such as Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, American Academy of Pediatrics Chair on Minority Health, Equity and Inclusion Dr. Nia Heard-Garris, authors Dr. Beverly Daniel-Tatum and Jennifer Harvey, Ph.D., among others.

Sesame Street hasn’t shied away from dealing with and explaining difficult concepts to kids. I remember that one of my first encounters with the concept of death was when the adults in the show explained to Big Bird that Mr. Hooper has died and will not be coming back. Maria, David, Bob and Susan all supported and reassured Big Bird through his confusion and sadness, a good example for parents to follow when explaining the death of a family member to young kids.

Through frank yet gently put discussions on topics from how to act when encountering racist acts to expressing support and empathy to people of color encountering racism, the show hand-held kid viewers and their parents as they navigated through a complex issue.

This show has made me wonder: what complex issue are we facing as a nation, and how do we explain it to our children? Would we have the same sensitivity and care in broaching and discussing such topics to out kids.

“Coming Together: Stand Up to Racism” was aired on CNN (SKYcable ch 28 SD | ch 181 HD) on June 6, 10pm. The full town hall may be viewed online at CNN’s website.