– Big feelings can be difficult for young children to handle/overcome. That’s why in the brand-new 13thseason of Takalani Sesame, our beloved muppets are focusing on what to do when your emotions feel like they’re about to burst out of your body, with an all-new season premiering on June 6 on SABC2.
Some of South Africa’s favourite family celebrities join forces with Takalani Sesame’s superstar Muppets—the ever curious and sweet 3-and-a-half-year-old Elmo; feisty and assertive 6-year-old Zuzu; insightful and wise Zikwe; science-fundi and playful problem-solver, 5-year-old Kami; and kind and optimistic Moshe. The star-studded season features Sho Madjozi, Prev Reddy, Holly & Mimi Rey, Farieda Metsileng, David Kau, and The Goliaths.
Underpinned by rigorous local and international research, Takalani Sesame is designed to support children’s development through playful learning. The new season focuses on teaching children and parents about “Big Feelings,” like feeling scared, angry, frustrated, or sad. The season’s lessons will help children identify and name big feelings and provide strategies to manage these emotions—skills that are critical in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re dealing with a very serious subject, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun while we learn about it,” says Innocent Nkata, Managing Director of Sesame Workshop South Africa. “In fact, kids learn best when they’re playing and having fun. That’s why Elmo, Zuzu, Moshe, Zikwe, Kami and animated friends like Basma, Jad and Grover come up with games and songs that let children explore different emotions and how to deal with them. We are excited to be working with wonderful South African celebrities to bring the theme of Big Feelings to life for children across South Africa.”
Using true to life situations (like feeling left out when someone else is chosen to play a game first or feeling frustrated if you don’t get something right first time), the Takalani Sesame friends learn techniques to help them cope with Big Feelings, like Belly Breathing, Counting to Five or Drawing It Out. The new season will help inspire children to think and talk about all the big emotions they may experience, whether it’s feeling nervous or being too excited to calm down, or whether it’s feeling anxious in the face of a new situation or struggling to master a new skill.
Takalani Sesame is generously supported by the LEGO Foundation. Kerry Kassen, Director of LEGO Foundation South Africa, says that the secret to the series’ popularity, as well as its effectiveness as a learning platform, lies in its inherent emphasis on playful learning. “Numerous studies have shown us that the combination of meaningful engagement and joy that children experience when they are playing helps to strengthen the ideas they are exposed to.”
For Mari Payne, Sesame Workshop South Africa’s Director of Education and Outreach, it’s Takalani Sesame’s focus on emotional development that’s especially important. “Recent developments have proved to us the importance of building resilience and overcoming trauma by developing critical social-emotional skills. By helping children build social-emotional skills, we’re giving them the tools they need to thrive both in school and in life,” she adds.
“SABC2 and SABC Education have been long standing champions of edutainment as part of our drive to entertain and inform our viewers. We are very excited for the new season of Takalani Sesame and are so happy to see a diverse contingent of South African celebrities joining a well-loved, proudly local show. Takalani Sesame has become a cornerstone of learning for South African children, and we’re pleased to be able to continue the tradition with a new series that speaks to current issues and dynamics in society,” says Danie Swart, SABC Head of Education.
Season 13 of Takalani Sesame airs on SABC 2 on 6 June every weekday at 15.30. The episodes are available in Englishon Mondays, isiZulu on Tuesdays, Sesotho on Wednesdays, isiNdebele on Thursdays and Afrikaans on Fridays.