Sesame Street drops new preschool educational podcast amid coronavirus

The episodes are 15 minutes each, and revolve around a variety of segments aimed at providing preschool-friendly educational topics in a fun and entertaining manner.

Sesame Street creator Joan Ganz Cooney poses with some of the cast during a 40th anniversary street naming celebration in New York (photo credit: SHANNON STAPLETON/ REUTERS)
Sesame Street creator Joan Ganz Cooney poses with some of the cast during a 40th anniversary street naming celebration in New York
(photo credit: SHANNON STAPLETON/ REUTERS)
With the coronavirus pandemic causing school lessons to be spotty at best, a new podcast has been launched to provide children with screen-free educational entertainment, broadcast right from the most famous street in children's television: Sesame Street, the Associated Press reported.
Titled “The Sesame Street Podcast with Foley & Friends” and available on Audible, the podcast focuses on six-year-old "sound-maker monster" Foley, joined by her microphone sidekick Mikee the Microphone, where they tell jokes, sing and host some of the most iconic residents of the famous neighborhood like Elmo, Cookie Monster and Big Bird, according to AP.
“We think it’s so important to have this other medium besides screens for playful, fun, engaging episodes that are also curriculum driven and really address the important educational needs for young children,” said Jennifer Schiffman Sanders, the director of content, education and research for Sesame Workshop, according to AP.
“Each podcast really focuses on school readiness skills. It also addresses really critical social emotional skills like resilience and kindness, which is something we could all use a little more of these days.”
The episodes are 15 minutes each and revolve around a variety of segments aimed at providing preschool-friendly educational topics in a fun and entertaining manner. These topics include the alphabet and different types of animals, though there are also recurring elements such as a game show, songs and “Elmo’s Joke of the Day,” AP reported.
The main character shown on the podcast, Foley, is a new addition to the colorful residents of Sesame Street, and is voiced by professional puppeteer Lindsey “Z” Briggs. It is nevertheless an audio-only podcast, so no actual operation of puppets is required, AP reported.
The podcast was Schiffman Sanders's idea as a means to help transition the iconic TV series to an audio experience.
“I kept remembering, ‘OK, but if they can’t see it, how can we bring it to life? What do we need to do to keep children engaged?’” she said, according to AP.
“It’s been an absolute bright spot in the midst of everything that’s been happening,” Briggs explained, according to AP. “It’s been this one thing that I can look at and say, ‘But you know what? We did this amazing thing.’”
The podcast first dropped last week, and new episodes are released every Tuesday and Thursday, AP reported.
The podcast is not the first time the famous childhood educational series has adapted to reflect an audience in crisis in its 50 years of running. In 2019, a new Arabic-language Sesame Street series was launched to help refugee children in Syria.