Ann Curry, co-anchor of NBC News’ TODAY, America’s number one morning news program; Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News, America’s leading evening newscast; and everyone’s favorite feathered friend, Big Bird, star in 24-hour preschool television channel Sprout’s first PSA created for “Kindness Counts,” the network’s new multiplatform, prosocial initiative designed support the development of empathy in preschoolers.

Two additional PSAs starring everyone’s favorite purple dinosaur Barney and Nina and Star from Sprout’s popular The Good Night ShowTM will debut on Sprout in September. All of the spots in the campaign also feature preschoolers demonstrating real acts of kindness. The “Kindness Counts” PSAs will be aired nationally on Sprout and other channels and featured online at SproutOnline.com.

In addition to this series of PSAs, the “Kindness Counts” campaign will also include digital and social media components, programming tie-ins and local extensions – all directed to parents and caregivers of preschoolers – with the ultimate goal of logging one million acts of kindness reported to Sprout from families all across the country. Families will be encouraged to visit the “Kindness Counts” microsite at SproutOnline.com to add their child’s act of kindness to the Kindness Counter. Various acts of kindness sent in from Sprout families nationwide will be highlighted regularly on the air during Sprout’s daily live morning show, The Sunny Side Up Show. Parents will also be able to find articles and expert advice on the value and importance of developing empathy in young children, printable materials that daycare providers or families can use at home or in school to track their own small acts of kindness, and links to games and activities at SproutOnline.com that celebrate the spirit of kindness.

A recent poll conducted by Sprout showed that 83% of parents surveyed were concerned about their preschoolers potentially being bullied or bullying others. Building empathy with young children can help encourage them to consider other people’s feelings and offer help or expressions of understanding – something as simple as a hug, getting a towel to help clean up a spill, or sharing a box of crayons with a friend.

“As bullying among school-aged children continues to be a growing concern for communities and parents across the nation, it is now more critical than ever – and never too soon – to start building empathy in young, preschool-aged children,” said Sandy Wax, president of Sprout. “Empathy and kindness are aconsistent theme with Sprout’s gold-standard programming and trusted characters, so Sprout is uniquely positioned to deliver our ‘Kindness Counts’ message to families of preschoolers all across the country.”

View Ann Curry’s Big Bird PSA here.

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