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Sesame Workshop Repaves

Sesame Workshop will launch redesigned Web destination Aug. 11.

The nonprofit educational organization said highlights of the new site include hundreds of Flash-based games and activities featuring favorite Sesame Street characters to help preschoolers prepare for school; nearly 3,000 classic and current Sesame Street videos; and preschooler-friendly applications including “PlaySAFE,” which prevents children from navigating away to other sites on their own.

Sesame Workshop said that while in PlaySAFE mode, children can interact with Sesame Street games and playlists but cannot navigate away from

On each day of the week from Monday-Friday, Web surfers will be greeted by a live-action Muppet host that will introduce the featured theme of the day and explain the navigation bar, pointing to each button to help invite children to join the learning process.

As for videos, more than 3,000, both classic and current, will be available at launch, expanding to over 10,000 videos by the end of 2009. The site will also include more than 1,000 Sesame Playlists, which can be shared and filtered by subject, theme or character.

And 400 Flash-based mini-games and almost 90 full games were created to help kids derive the best learning experience possible.

The site will also include pop-up parenting tips, which refresh every minute and relate to whatever their child is doing on the site.

After finding that the typical arrow cursor did not draw a strong visual response, the new site’s designers installed a star-shaped cursor, and Sesame Workshop added that all parts of it are “hot,” meaning any part of it can be placed on an object and clicked to select.

"Over the past two years, we conducted extensive research with children to help us create an age-appropriate, engaging preschool Web experience," Sesame Workshop vice president for research on digital media Glenda Revelle said in a statement. "Our mission is entirely about providing a safe and accessible place for preschoolers -- a group using the Internet more frequently than ever -- to explore and learn."

Sesame Workshop president and CEO Gary E. Knell added, “The new Web site is really the future of the Workshop. While parents and caregivers know they can depend on the television show to educate and entertain their preschoolers, the site will provide one central destination for everything Sesame from videos, games to educational content, providing fans of all ages basically a trusted ‘Sesame Channel.’”