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DHS and Sesame Street Teach Kids About Disaster Preparedness

09/19/2008 -The Department of Homeland Security is teaming up with Sesame Workshop to promote disaster preparedness education among families with young children. 

The program"Let's Get Ready! Planning Together for Emergencies," was created in collaboration with DHS' Ready Kids Initiative and Ad Council's emergency preparedness Web site, according to the Sesame Workshop site. Sesame Workshop produces "Sesame Street" and several other children's programs.

"Let's Get Ready!" is a bilingual (Spanish and English) program geared to 3-5-year-olds, and it includes a DVD, a magazine, and an activity book. The DVD follows well-known "Sesame Street" Muppets Grover and Rosita as they "playfully discover simple tasks they can complete with their families to be prepared."

Jeanette Betancourt, Sesame Workshop's vice president for outreach and educational practices, said of the program:  "The best way we know to look at emergency preparedness is really from the scope of making it non-threatening, taking advantage of everyday moments to incorporate it, and doing it in a way that includes young children... The best way to do that is to pick up on daily routines."

The program was announced earlier this week at John Tyler Elementary School.  According to Kansas City Infozine, at the program's unveiling, Rosita covered basic tips for children, such as memorizing their parents' names and stocking food and water. 

This isn't the first time Sesame Street has taken on a disaster topic; in 2001 the show aired a series of hurricane-themed episodes that included Big Bird losing his nest in the storm.