40 years of Sesame Street

40 years of Sesame Street

Sesame Street gang came on the scene, TV for kids was an educational wasteland.

“[The show]was a total breakthrough,” says Daniel Anderson, a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who has worked as a consultant for the show. “It was the first program that really did extensive curriculum development based on the best education and child development expertise at the time.”

Sesame Street created a refreshing fusion of imagination and real life, a quality that encourages kids to learn, says Elizabeth Morley, principal at the Institute of Child Study Laboratory School at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). “This wasn’t adults talking to children, these were characters they could engage with,” she says. “A cookie monster! What child can’t relate to that?”

It helped kids with the social worldcheap nfl jerseys

When Big Bird cried over a breakup with a friend, kids shed a tear along with him. And when mom and pop Snuffalupagus divorced, children from broken homes could relate to their daughter Snuffie.

Sesame Street has been quick to turn social travails of the day into lessons for its tiny viewers, Prof. Anderson says.

When the actor who played grandfatherly grocer Mr. “They could have had him move away or they could have just ignored the fact that he was missing,” Prof. Anderson says. The show addressed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the recent financial crisis and even the obesity epidemic.

teaching the ABCs and 123s are the key to the show’s success, lessons in emotional intelligence have been invaluable, Ms. Morley adds. “In any of the characters we could find the normal childhood range of emotions,” she says. “The interest was always there, but they provided the vehicle,” he says. “They created characters that got kids’ attention. Joe to sell their products, says Dale Kunkel, a professor of communication at the University of Arizona who studies children and media. “They’d said ‘You shouldn’t be criticizing us, because we’re just like

Sesame Street . They promote their characters and we’re just doing the same thing.'”Sesame Street advertises its huge cupboard of toys and products (Tickle Me Elmo, anyone?), there’s a measured effort to only market them to adults, Dr. Kunkel says. “One place you’ll see them advertised is in the late night talk show [time slots]”Sesame Street ‘s ABCs spell ADHD? The show was one of the first to experiment with educational segments in bite sized pieces a move made based on research that showed kids are very attentive to TV ads, says Shalom Fisch, a New Jersey based children’s educational media consultant who worked at Sesame Street for 15 years and co edited

G Is for Growing: Thirty Years of Research on Children and Sesame Street . Educators and parents voiced concerned that the fast paced, quick change approach was eating away at attention spans, but that’s never borne out in research, Mr. Christakis, who has researched the impact of television on children’s attention spans. “It wasn’t a light switch, but if you look at pacing today versus 20 years ago, you’ll notice there’s a dramatic difference.”

Controversy also touched

Sesame Street in 2006 with the launch of Sesame Beginnings, a series of episodes for kids under 2. The American Pediatric Society advises against television for tots and infants and the Canadian Paediatric Society is expected to follow suit.

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Frank Parlato

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