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‘Sesame Street’ tackles tough issues, local preschool reacts

(WBNG) — The children’s show ‘Sesame Street’ is taking on some pretty grown-up issues. It’s ‘Sesame Street in Communities’ initiative has talked about homelessness, bullying, and foster care, among other tough topics. Now it’s adding addiction to the list.

“Sesame has grown with the issues that this country is facing and so from back to where they introduced diversity, and wasn’t that a positive thing to introduce, to now dealing with opioid addiction and homelessness, it’s only a plus. This is to be applauded,” said Whitney Point Preschool Executive Director Kim Downs.

Karli was introduced back in May as a character in foster care. In an online segment, Karli is now revealing her mom has an addiction problem and is in recovery.

Preschools in the Southern Tier say it gives some children someone to whom they can relate.

“To have something warm and fuzzy and comforting like a puppet, to say they’re dealing with it too, makes them feel not so alone I think,” said Downs.

Seeing a character on their favorite show coping can also help kids understand why they’re feeling the way they are feeling.

“Often, their feelings turn into behaviors, and often those behaviors are really powerful or extreme and a teacher might not know how to deal with it. Often the custodial parent or grandparent doesn’t know how, and the child doesn’t know how,” said Downs.

While it’s a children’s show, it’s also helping adults understand how big the issue of addiction is.

“All of us as a community should be working together to help these children, and these families, and adults deal with what nobody wants and everybody wants a solution to. And ‘yay’ for Sesame Street for trying to be a part of the solution,” said Downs.

The ‘Sesame Street in Communities’ link can be found here, where caregivers can provide videos and resources to children.

According to CBS News, 5.7 million kids under 11 live in households with a parent who has a substance use disorder.

Annie Flaherty

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