“We live in a culture that is so stressed, hurried and achieving or trying to get by that sometimes it really takes kids’ innocent eyes and hearts to see and comment on the need for kindness in a way that allows parents to actually view their own interactions in a new way,” she says. “Sometimes we all get stuck in thinking, ‘This is the way we do business.’ The thought that Sesame Street, a program frequently watched by both parents and kids, can shine more light on kindness is important.”
Sesame Street conducted an informal survey, “K for Kindness,” examining the state of kindness in America. Seventy percent of parents surveyed often worry "the world is an unkind place for my child” and nearly 80 percent agreed with the statement that “it’s more important that my children are kind to others” than “academically successful.”
“Providing parents and teachers the tools and resources they need to help instill kindness and empathy in their children is at the core Sesame’s mission," says Jeffrey Dunn, CEO of Sesame Workshop. "We want to engage in a national conversation about kindness.”
The center's curriculum was initially enabled by the generosity of donors through a pilot study. Currently, a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education is in its third year of investigating well-being in teachers and students in the classroom.
The Kindness Curriculum, developed independently of the collaboration, is available for free by signing up on the Center's website.
-– Marianne Spoon