Sesame Street Building a Connected Community Evaluation
Sesame Street’s Building a Connected Community is a new online professional learning course that helps preschool teachers build healthy relationships with children and families and support children’s social and emotional development. The Sesame Street resources will be set up for teachers of 4-year-olds to use for 10 weeks (about 20–30 minutes each week). The Sesame Street resources focus on the following:
- Fostering a sense of belonging;
- Providing opportunities for children to build relationships;
- Extending children’s prosocial skills;
- Promoting collaborative problem solving in the classroom; and
- Helping children grow beyond the program.
AIR is conducting an evaluation to examine the impact of the course on teachers, families, and children. Sesame will use the results of the evaluation to further improve the course.
What is involved in participating?
- We are looking for:
- 30 early childhood programs/sites that serve 4-year-old children;
- 120 teachers within those sites that work primarily with 4-year-olds (only 1 teacher per classroom may participate); and
- 600 parents/caregivers of 4-year-old children within those classrooms (approximately 5 per classroom).
- Half of the participating teachers will be randomly selected to receive and use the free Sesame Street training and materials in the fall of 2023. The remaining teachers will receive the free Sesame Street training and materials in spring 2024.
- We will ask all participating teachers and a sample of parents/caregivers from their classrooms to fill out two surveys: one in the fall of 2023 and the other in late 2023.
- We also will invite some teachers to talk with us in greater depth in early 2024.
What will early childhood programs/sites receive?
We are hoping that early childhood administrators will agree to serve as our ‘site liaison’ to help us recruit teachers and families/caregivers to participate in the evaluation. We want to thank study liaisons for their time and help by giving each participating study liaison a $200 gift card. Sites with high participation rates may also be entered into a raffle to win free Sesame-branded gear and merchandise.
What will teachers receive?
All teachers will receive free Sesame Street digital training and resources to support children’s social and emotional development. Half of the teachers will get free Sesame Street materials in the fall. Half of the teachers will get the free Sesame Street materials in early 2024. We also want to thank teachers for their time and help by giving each participating teacher/provider a $30 gift card for each survey they complete. We also will ask some participants to join a virtual focus group in early 2024. Focus group participants will receive a $50 gift card. We may also ask some teachers to participate in an interview to help us improve our survey materials in the summer of 2023. Interview participants will receive a $40 gift card.
What will parents/caregivers receive?
We want to thank parents/caregivers for their time and help by giving each participating parent/caregiver a $30 gift card for each survey they complete. We may also ask some parent/caregivers to participate in an interview to help us improve our survey materials in the summer of 2023. Interview participants will receive a $40 gift card.
Who can participate?
To be eligible, ECE sites must:
- Have at least 1 classroom that primarily serves 4-year-old children (priority will be given to sites that have at least two classrooms serving primarily 4-year-old children);
- Be located in the United States; and
- Have an administrator willing to serve as the study liaison.
- Work in a participating site in a classroom that primarily serves 4-year-old children;
- Have internet access and a current email address;
- Have no prior experience with the Building a Connected Community resources;
- Be willing to participate in the course from October through December 2023; and
- Be willing to complete two surveys and participate in a focus group.
- Have a 4-year-old child in a participating classroom; and
- Have internet access and a current email address.
- Be willing to complete two surveys.
What questions will you ask teachers?
The teacher/provider surveys will ask about knowledge and attitudes about supporting children’s social and emotional competence and family engagement. Teachers will be asked to rate social and emotional outcomes for a sample of children in their class (whose parents have consented to the study), so that we can tell how well the resources are working. We also will ask some questions about how they used the free resources from Sesame.
What questions will you ask parents/caregivers?
The parent/caregiver surveys will ask about attitudes about classroom engagement and their relationship with their child’s provider. We also will ask them to rate social and emotional outcomes for their child, so that we can tell how well the resources are working.
What will you do with the information?
The information will help Sesame Workshop learn how to improve the Building a Connected Community resources so that they better help teachers and caregivers/families. Participant’s names or site names may be used to help track the teachers and families within a site, but we will not identify any person or site by name in any external reporting beyond the AIR study team, Sesame Workshop, and study participants.
What is the timeline?
- Spring/Summer 2023: ECE sites will join the study.
- Spring/Summer 2023: Teachers will join the study.
- Summer/Fall 2023: Parents/caregivers will join the study.
- Fall 2023: All teachers and parents/caregivers will complete the first online survey.
- Fall/Winter 2023 (10-week window): Half of the teachers will receive and use the free Sesame resources.
- Late 2023: All teachers and parents/caregivers will complete the second online survey.
- Early 2024: Some teachers will be asked to participate in a virtual focus group.
- Spring 2024: The rest of the teachers will receive and use the free Sesame resources.
About AIR and the Pilot Team
AIR is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization known around the world as a leader in behavioral and social science research. Its goal is to use the best research evidence available to improve everyday life.
Learn more about this study here.
Sesame Workshop, the creators of Sesame Street and other educational programs.