Belfast Telegraph

Elmgrove children branch out into new Sesame Tree

by Fiona Rutherford

Primary two pupils from Elmgrove Primary School are set to make their television debut in the second series of Sesame Tree, Northern Ireland’s version of Sesame Street, when the new series airs on CBeebies later this year.

Sesame Tree aims to encourage children to explore and appreciate the world around them, promoting respect and understanding through educational messages.

The second series will air across the UK from late 2010.

Each episode will feature muppets Potto, Hilda and Archie on an adventure filled with laughter and learning.

The trio will answer questions on many topics posed by children and introduce local mini documentaries that will showcase the diversity of Northern Ireland.

The Elmgrove Primary School pupils will make their appearance in a mini documentary all about teamwork as they explore Belfast’s shipbuilding past in an episode called Potto’s Movie Mania.

The documentary will also form part of the educational outreach materials being developed to support the television series. Co-produced by Sixteen South Television and Sesame Workshop, the not-for-profit organisation behind Sesame Street, Sesame Tree’s return to TV screens follows the success of its initial series which was broadcast on BBC Northern Ireland and subsequently on CBeebies.

Belfast-based project manager for Sesame Tree, Fiona MacMillan said: “While the second series of Sesame Tree will be broadcast across the UK, it remains very rooted in everyday life in Northern Ireland.

“Not only will the mini-documentaries provide a unique perspective on an aspect of life in Northern Ireland, they also explore themes which are common to all children, such as respecting differences, sharing, trying new things and learning about new people.

“As well as showcasing contemporary life in Northern Ireland and helping the show to explore common themes with our young viewers, these mini-documentaries will also form a key element in our educational outreach material which will be used in classrooms and playgroups across Northern Ireland.”

Denis Rooney, chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the latest series of Sesame Tree, which uses creative, fun and educational story-telling to show children, from an early age, the commonalities among young people in Northern Ireland.”

Richard Williams, CEO of Northern Ireland Screen, congratulated Colin Williams and his team at Sixteen South for their achievement.

“It is also a tremendous illustration of the importance of continuing to fund development within this very competitive arena,” he added.

Jane Cassidy, of BBC NI, said: “It is very rewarding to see content tailored to the needs of three to five-year-olds in Northern Ireland being shared with children across the UK.”

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