What is it about?

Preschool classrooms can play a vital role in promoting social‐emotional skills in young children. Sesame Workshop has been developing digital media programs since 1970 and produced a digital media educational toolkit, Little Children, Big Challenges: General Resilience (LCBC), to foster resilience-building social‐emotional skills. We compared outcomes for this toolkit to another digital media toolkit that focused on healthy food choices and physical activity. LCBC significantly improved children's behaviors and relationships - the foundation of academic success and well-being.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

Although many SEL interventions effectively promote social‐emotional skills in schools, ours is the first investigation of the effectiveness of a digital media‐based SEL intervention in preschool classrooms. Research on SEL interventions that incorporate digital media is important and timely. Children are increasingly more competent at using technology even before entering preschool, and schools are increasingly integrating technology into instruction. The need for digital media‐based SEL resources became urgent during the COVID‐19 pandemic, given the increase in the mental health needs of children during this time. LCBC can be adapted for virtual implementation since all the materials are available digitally. Teachers, school psychologists, counselors, and parents can access the free media and materials on the Sesame Workshop website.


We found that Little Children, Big Challenges improved initiation, self‐control, attachment, emotion regulation, and adaptability. Additional benefits were decreased attention problems, emotional dysregulation, and teacher-student conflict. Nearly all the teachers reported that the materials were appealing and liked by the children, and parents conveyed that improvements were observed at home. These positive responses may be because of adult familiarity with Sesame Street characters from their own childhoods, and most children are exposed to Sesame Street characters well before entering preschool. Pedagogically, this allows for an easy transition of these characters as familiar playmates from home into a school setting. Both the Little Children, Big Challenges, and Health Habits toolkits resulted in positive growth in social skills and problem‐solving skills, indicating that both toolkits fostered positive interaction among peers. We believe that the positive reaction to the Sesame characters, the evidence‐based components of the intervention, and the appeal and ease of implementation all contributed to the strong evidence of effectiveness observed in our study. - Dr. Geraldine Oades-Sese

Geraldine Oades-Sese

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Effectiveness of Sesame Workshop's Little Children, Big Challenges: A digital media SEL intervention for preschool classrooms, Psychology in the Schools, July 2021, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1002/pits.22574.
You can read the full text:



The following have contributed to this page