Big Bird is making a return to China in Big Bird Looks at the World, a new daily TV series that’s set to debut on China’s Ha Ha Channel on Dec 22.
The series, from Sesame Workshop and Shanghai Toonmax Media and supported by healthcare leader MSD, is aimed at kids ages three to seven and introduces viewers to Big Bird’s friendship with Muppets Elmo and Lily. The 52 x 11-minute episodes will be available in Mandarin.
Along with the China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF), Sesame Workshop and MSD have made the series the basis for learning tools that address the needs of children in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Supporting the development of schools in poverty-stricken rural areas, the partners will deliver educational materials featuring Big Bird and his friends.
In the first phase, the partners will focus on emergency response – adapting and distributing a kit of materials that contain games, activity sheets, a caregiver’s guide and a children’s activity book available in March 2011. The activities are designed to provide children with a sense of stability, safety, and normalcy that may otherwise be lacking in the aftermath of a natural disaster. One thousand kits will be distributed to classrooms, which will reach approximately 40,000 children in provinces such as Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan, and Guangxi.
The partners will later distribute a kit containing a DVD with songs and activities to help children learn about getting ready for emergencies with their families, a parent/caregiver magazine and a children’s activity book. Seventy-five thousand kits will be distributed to individual families in 15 provinces that have been impacted by or are prone to crises such as Yunnan, Guizhou, Jiangxi and Henan. Additionally, these kits will be given to children in the 125 kindergartens in Shanghai.
Sesame Street first appeared in China in 1983 with Big Bird in China, a one-hour special produced with CCTV. Other locally produced Sesame-branded programs soon followed.