Supporting the educational development of the island’s young, the Sandals Foundation and Beaches Resorts have teamed up with Sesame Workshop’s Sesame Street in Communities to host three free webinars and share over 300 FREE online resources with educators and families of children ages Birth-8 years old.
The Sesame Street: Let’s Learn! initiative, which has been fully endorsed by the Ministry of Education, Labour, Employment and Customer Services, forms part of Beaches Resorts’ longstanding partnership with Sesame Workshop. As a proud sponsor of Sesame Street, Beaches Resorts is the only resort company to offer Caribbean Adventures with Sesame Street, which includes immersive, playful learning at the Sesame Street Kids Camp, walkaround characters, live shows, parades, and more. Through social impact initiatives with Sesame Street in Communities and the Sandals Foundation, the organizations are able to bring the laughter and learning of Sesame Street to local communities in Jamaica and Turks & Caicos.
Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at Sandals Foundation says, “In light of the challenging time that it has been for families, educators and children, it was important for us to see how we engage our partners at Sesame Workshop who are experts in child development, creating age-appropriate content, and helping children cope with complex social issues and big feelings.”
“The resources,” Clarke said, “supplement children’s learning as well as provide social and emotional support so every child can succeed in school.”
Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President, U.S. Social Impact, at Sesame Workshop says, “We know this past year has been a challenge for families, caregivers, and educators. The free resources, including webinars and Sesame Street videos, storybooks, and more will keep children engaged and learning. We look forward to working with our longstanding partner Beaches Resorts, along with the Sandals Foundation, Ministry of Education, and the local community to help kids across the island grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.” Antonio Freitas, Senior Content Manager, Sesame Workshop is leading this effort in training.
The webinars address the most essential needs of children today—tackling school readiness, coping with the challenges that impact their learning, including health emergencies such as the Covid-19 pandemic, and building resilience in facing tough issues.
On Wednesday, June 9, just over 60 educators, parents, and caregivers joined Sesame Workshop early childhood experts online using the Zoom platform to explore school readiness resources geared to support children learning.
In his opening address, Edgar Howell, Director of Education, expressed delight in the collaboration noting, “We are excited about the webcasts, about the opportunities that are being provided to teachers, parents, and children especially given the impact that Covid-19 has had on Turks and Caicos. We are anxious to see what our teachers and parents will learn from being involved.”
During the interactive session, which explored the importance of learning through play, having parents/guardians present, and developing meaningful moments with children, attendees viewed videos and participated in activities, as well as shared their own experiences in ensuring children are school ready.
One parent participating in the session shared, “The workshop was very insightful with numerous topics for working with families, as well as professional development topics to explore. The videos and other resources will also prove to be very beneficial. An excellent session!”
On Wednesday, June 16, the second scheduled webcast will explore health emergencies, while on June 23, the early childhood experts will share how to help children build confidence and overcome challenges with resources that help develop resilience. Persons who were unable to attend the first session can access the recording through the Sandals Foundation or the Sesame Street in Communities Facebook pages. Parents and educators may also access the more than 300 learning resources through Sesame Workshop’s digital platform, Sesame Street in Communities and sign up for the upcoming webcasts at m.sesame.org/ssicbeaches.
Since the opening of Beaches Turks and Caicos in 1997, the company has invested in numerous educational projects, providing school supplies and facilitating development programs within schools.
James McAnally, General Manager at Beaches Resorts, says, “In addition to and independent of our work with Sesame Workshop. through the Sandals Foundation, we’ve been able to scale up the reach of our involvement within the sector by helping to distribute digital learning devices, coordinating the building of hand wash stations, facilitating upgrades to school facilities and hosting first aid, CPR and special needs training for teachers. These webinars are well timed and will certainly offer much needed support in these unique and ever-evolving times.”