Galli Galli Sim Sim demonstrates high impact on school readiness

Project Metro, a five year program supported by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation shows that children exposed to Galli Galli Sim Sim in classrooms are twice as school ready

Sesame Workshop India Trust, the organization behind Galli Galli Sim Sim (GGSS), the popular educational TV show, today shared the impactof Project Metro, its educational outreach program. The program began in 2007 with support from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. Its goal was to reach over 1 million children over a 5-year period in urban slum populations that have limited/no access to quality early childhood education and demonstrate how GGSScontent canhave a positive outcome on their educational prospects.

The program used a multi pronged approach that combined mobile community viewing, in classroom intervention, training of anganwadi workers and teachers and innovative educational materials from GGSS. Research conductedon the basis of the program clearly demonstrated improvements in learning levels of the children. Results also indicated that the parents who participated in the intervention showed greater gains in their attitude towards Early Childhood Education (ECE).

  • Children exposed to GGSS materials were found to be twice as ready for school compared to those who were not exposed;
  • Three year olds who were exposed to GGSS materials were able to recognize twice as many letters of the Hindi alphabet than those not exposed to the materials;
  • Four year olds exposed to GGSS materials on the importance of hand-washing were found twice as likely to wash their hands;

Today’s conference brought together senior policy makers and administrators, representatives from Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Education Department, Bi-lateral agencies, media and academicians to discuss the need for better and effective ECEpractices.The aim of today’s conference was share to the experience, learning and innovations from Project Metro and the impact of GGSS on learning outcomes amongst children, attitudes of teachers and parents. In addition it also sought to understand role of ICDS and SSA in implementing such programs and identifying strategies to strengthen ECE programs in other states through similar models.
Commenting on the importance of ECE, Prof. Venita Kaul, Director Centre for Early Childhood Education and Development (CECED), Ambedkar University, said,“The early years of a child’s life, last a life time. Given the significant number of children that drop out in grades 1 and 2 in most cases due to low levels of school readiness, the Right to Education Act cannot be fulfilled until ECE for children below 6 years is given its due.”

“Our objective is to work with the existing system and strengthen it. Seeing the need for high quality early education, we’re excited about the findings. It is a unique program as it integrates our television program thereby reinforcing learning concepts and outcomes, making it more engaging and effective,” said Sashwati Banerjee Managing Trustee, Sesame Workshop India Trust.

Project Metro
The aim of Project Metro was to improve the supply of high quality early childhood experiences among the target population; achieve a positive impact on children’s educational outcomes, caregivers awareness about the importance of high quality Early Childhood Care Education (ECCE), and organizational capacity to provide early childhood education; as well as develop innovative multi-media early childhood educational content and outreach models.

As per the Indian Government census of 2011 there are over 165 million preschool-aged children in the country. UNESCO’s data of 2007 reports that only four in ten eligible children attend pre-primary schools. For those who do attend, few receive the preparation they need. At government-run childcare centers, there is a lack of resources and focus on early childhood education—with a devastating impact on school readiness. This clearly indicates that high-quality early childhood education is in short supply in India.

Sashwati Banerjee, Managing Trustee, Sesame Workshop India Trust reiterated the aims and objectives of Project Metro,“We are trying to strengthen quality and create a stronger learning continuum between pre-primary and primary levels through our programs. The aim is to help children, many of whom are first generation learnershave access to engaging and developmentally appropriate materials. When children are able to attend local centres with fully qualified teachers, with low teacher-child ratios and good quality of ECE, the chances of success in their life ahead become better.”

Through Project Metro, Sesame Workshop India Trustrolled out an innovative program to over 1,000,000 children and over 300,000 caregivers in NGO and Government run pre-school centres in the urban slums of Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Bangalore. Funded by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, over the past 5 years the initiative has brought colourful classroom materials, teacher training, and resources to over a half a million children in these 7 cities. Sesame Workshop India Trust partnered with over 40 NGOs and government run agencies including Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Rajiv Gandhi Creche Program. The components of the program included: Mobile Community Viewing (MCV); Content development and distribution; Capacity development and Monitoring & Research.

For the program intervention, Sesame Workshop India Trust incorporated guidelines from India’s National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for early childhood education and Galli Galli Sim Sim’s innovative educational materials were contextualised. Thedeployment ofa right mix of resources including lovable Muppets­thestars of Galli Galli Sim Sim to enliven worksheets, storybooks, and games helpedtip the scales for children and under-resourced teachers in preparing children to succeed.

In 2011, Sesame Workshop IndiaTrust measured this impact on a large scale deploying  the World Bank created School Readiness Instrument (SRI), the most rigorous research tool available. SRI was used in a cluster randomized control trial encompassing 1750 children and parents and 300 teachers. School readiness was compared between two groups: children that received the Galli Galli Sim Sim intervention and children that did not.The results were unequivocal. Children exposed to Galli Galli Sim Sim materials were twice as ready for school as those who are not exposed to the materials. Compared to the control group, they were able to recognize twice as many letters of the Hindi alphabet and were twice as likely to wash their hands.

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About Sesame Workshop in India
Sesame Workshop India, the organization behind Galli Galli Sim Sim, uses the power of the media to help children reach their highest potential. We develop and distribute high quality and engaging content through television, radio, community radio, print, digital and outreach; to reach children aged 0-8.  Our content aims to facilitate young Indian children’s basic academic and life skills, while celebrating India’s rich cultural diversity, in order to promote their overall cognitive, socio-emotional and physical development. Galli Galli Sim Sim, the television series, has been watched by 10 million children each year since its debut in 2006 and is currently broadcast on two of India’s leading children’s channels, Pogo and Cartoon Network and now also on Doordarshan. Its educational messages are extended through a radio program aired on All India Radio and community radio stations, extensive community outreach, and applications on new and emerging media such as cell phones and internet.  Recently we have entered the school education space through the launch of Sesame Schoolhouse whose curriculum and methodology integrates hands-on project-based learning, with creative approaches to foster critical thinking and problem solving, laying a strong foundation to promote lifelong learning.

About the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation
The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation ( is dedicated to improving the lives of children living in urban poverty around the world. With offices in Austin, TX and New Delhi, India, and Cape Town, South Africa, the Dell family foundation funds programs that foster high-quality public education and childhood health, and improve the economic stability of families living in poverty. The foundation has committed more than $825 million to global children’s issues and community initiatives to date.