School Nursing

The Relentless School Nurse: Sesame Street in Communities & the Circle of Care

Screen Shot 2018-06-10 at 7.23.54 AM.pngTwo years ago, Sesame Workshop, the educational arm of Sesame Street, launched Sesame Street in Communities to offer support, guidance, and tools to those working with our most vulnerable population, our children.  In the “About Us” description on their website Sesame Street in Communities they share their intention:

Every day, you make a difference by helping kids and families grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. Organizations like yours unite communities, foster families’ and kids’ resilience, nurture their physical and mental health and provide critical early learning opportunities. You’re an important part of the “circle of care” that surrounds the families and kids who need it most. We’ve created Sesame Street in Communities to support you in this critical work…”

As a Preschool Nurse, this speaks directly to the heart of what I do in Camden, New Jersey every day, engaged in the “circle of care.”  I know so many school nurse colleagues, regardless of the ages/grades you serve, are equally moved by this notion of “circle of care.”  How fitting that Sesame Street would create another branch on their “giving tree” and create a community-based format for those of us who are engaged in the important work of caring for children.

One of the best parts of Sesame Street in Communities are the free offerings for professional development for teachers and community providers.  There are even health offerings, and this is a link to the asthma education webinar:  Exploring Asthma webinar with pediatric pulmonologist Dr. Amy Brown. The webinars are free and do provide certificates of completion that school nurses may be able to use to support professional development hours (check with your school districts).

Sesame Street in Communities launched one of their most ambitious initiatives that address childhood trauma. Sesame Street in Communities, with the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has created evidence-based content that supports promoting resilience to counteract the negative impact of ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). The experiences included in the CDC–Kaiser Permanente landmark study on childhood trauma (occurring before the age of 18), include:

  • emotional, physical, or sexual abuse
  • emotional or physical neglect
  • witnessing violence against one’s mother
  • a parent’s addiction to alcohol or other substance, or a family member’s mental illness
  • separation or divorce
  • the incarceration of a parent
  • involvement with the foster care system
  • witnessing community violence
  • living in an unsafe neighborhood bullying
  • experiencing racism

Here is a link to the trauma initiative and resources to add to your “circle of care” toolkit: Sesame Street in Communities trauma-informed resources.

As we sit in the aftermath of national tragedies, natural disasters, and division within our country and communities, it helps to review the important tools that Sesame Street in Communities has provided. There is something comforting about watching Big Bird, Elmo and friends talk about “Big Feelings” during these complex times.

I know, for me, my “circle of care” just got stronger thanks to the work of Sesame Street in Communities. My goal is to share this information with my schools, family workers, and parents. I hope you join me on the pages of Sesame Street in Communities on Facebook and on Twitter to share your outcomes!

Here is the Facebook address:

Here is the address for Sesame Street Community Providers:

Here is the Twitter handle: @SesameCommunity


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