Written by Sydne Fowler, WSIU Television
I was interested in this toolkit because someday I will need to
explain to my children about the topics of deployment, homecoming, and changes
that will be happening because their dad will be gone. Currently, my boyfriend
is enlisted in the United States Army and is active. This means that he is
stationed on a base until they need him to be deployed somewhere else. I wanted
to write about this because of my emotional tie to it, and because I will be in
the same situation one day. Also, because I want to work in the childcare
facility on the base where we will live, I will be interacting with military
children everyday and I want to be sure that I know what to do.
The Talk, Listen, Connect toolkit is made by Sesame Workshop,
producers of the PBS KIDS program Sesame
Street. The main characters are Elmo and his family of muppets. Elmo is
coping with his father being deployed, coming home, and changes that are
happening to their family. The DVD inside the toolkit also provides live action
video clips depicting real families that have been through deployments and
homecomings. The DVD offers a menu of options: playing a story, selecting a specific scene,
or a segment specifically for adults. The toolkit also contains a magazine for
parents and caregivers and a children's activity poster of the Sesame Street characters.
I really enjoyed the Sesame
Street toolkit; however, there are a few things that can be improved. When
Elmo is discussing his father leaving, the muppets never mention the terms
deployment or military. I think that
because military children are familiar with these terms, it would have been
helpful if they were mentioned. Also, in
no way during Elmo's stories did the father wear any type of military uniform.
I think if the DVD is supposed to specifically target the topic of military
families and deployments, Elmo's stories should contain more "real"
aspects of the military such as the uniforms.
I really enjoyed the toolkit. Watching the real footage of
military families would be really helpful to show the parents or caregivers of
the children who will be attending the childcare facilities on military bases.
Seeing as this topic is one that hits so close to home for me, it made me a
little emotional watching it. I felt a sense of pride, yet it made me sad to
think that I will have to possibly go through this some day. I think it helps
reassure children and families of their loved one in the military and reinforces
how proud they are of their loved one. It also helps the children understand
that their loved one will always be thinking of them and will return home. I
think that is the most important part because children tend to think that they
will be forgotten. Overall, the Sesame
Street toolkit was something that I very much enjoyed and I think it is a
great aid to have around, not only for a childcare facility, but for families
in general. This toolkit can be found at http://www.sesamestreet.org/parents/topicsandactivities/toolkits/tlc. You are also
invited to contact WSIU Public Broadcasting to request the toolkit at