It is hard to imagine Sesame Street without the delightful animations that teach things like letters, numbers, emotions and problem solving. Animations have been a part of the show since the pilot episodes. But back in 1969, the idea of using a series of short animations to act like “commercials” for letters and numbers was a true innovation.
When Joan Ganz Cooney created her proposal for an educational television show, she envisioned borrowing the techniques used in making TV commercials to help teach counting and literacy. Joan and the producers knew that kids were attracted to commercials on TV. What they didn’t know was whether they could successfully create short commercial-like segments for the show that would actually teach to the curriculum. Read More
Teaching children about science, technology, engineering and mathematics, known as the STEM subjects, is an imperative we here at Sesame Street take seriously. STEM is not just a major part of the television show’s curriculum; Sesame Workshop makes print books, e-books, and mobile apps aimed at teaching young children about STEM.
Teaching STEM is a passion of ours, which is why we approached Ridgefield Academy in Connecticut to see if any of their teachers wanted to use our book Simple Science Experiments with Elmo and Friends, published by Dover Publications, in the classroom. That’s when we were introduced to Jerry Nash, a science teacher a Ridgefield who saw a way to take this teaching opportunity a step further.
He had his eighth grade students at Ridgefield Academy film the first graders who conducted the experiments. Then he had a group of third and fifth graders do a voice-over for an instructional science video he made. We were blown away by the time and effort Mr. Nash put into bringing Simple Science Experiments with Elmo and Friends to life. We wanted to feature a few clips from the video (see above) in the hopes that teachers and parents might be inspired to think about new ways they can make science fun and relevant for young children.
If you would like to learn more about Ridgefield Academy and the great educational work they do, click here. If you want to get a copy of Simple Science Experiments with Elmo and Friends, click here. And Mr. Nash wanted to let you know if you have any questions about his approach to teaching science, you can reach him here.
JoAnne Pedro-Carroll is a clinical and research psychologist and author of the award-winning book, “Putting Children First: Proven Parenting Strategies for Helping Children Thrive Through Divorce.” She serves as a lead advisor to Sesame Street for Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce.
Today, there’s an important conversation taking place at Sesame Street – another important conversation in a thoughtful and penetrating series that has taken place behind the scenes here over the past several years. Those conversations culminated in Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce. Read More
When I was approached to participate in From Broadway with Love – A Benefit Concert for Sandy Hook, I knew that Sesame Street had to be a part of it. I wanted to rally as many of the cast as possible. Emails and phone calls were sent out, and before you knew it I had group of talented volunteers: Alison Bartlett (Gina), Sonia Manzano (Maria), Bob McGrath (Bob), Roscoe Orman (Gordon), from the human cast, and Muppeteers Carmen Osbahr, Pam Arciero, and Tyler Bunch, performing Rosita, Grungetta, and Herry Monster, respectively. We decided that the song “Just One Person” would be the perfect fit for the benefit, because it is a song about hope, community and love. It seemed to be the right message: Read More
Jessica F. Cantlon is Assistant Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester.
I am never quite sure what my daughter is thinking about as we interact. I’ll watch my child’s reactions as I read her a book and I wonder whether she is thinking about the words that I am saying, the printed words on the page, the pictures I’m gesturing toward, or something else entirely. And, when I see her completely mesmerized by something we’re watching on television, I often wonder what aspects of the program she’s absorbing. One way to get ‘inside’ the minds of young children, especially children too young to articulate their thoughts in words, are studies that measure children’s neural activity while they engage in everyday activities like listening to stories or watching educational television. Such studies can not only help us understand which pieces of information children are processing in everyday situations, but how their brain is filtering, reacting to and registering the content to which they are exposed. Read More
Afghan children in Herat province listen to Baghch-e-Simsim with their mothers.
While Sesame Workshop is best known for the educational television programs we produce both in the United States and around the world, we believe many forms of technology, both old and new, can be an effective way of bringing learning and laughter to children. That’s why an accompanying radio production has been a big part of the success of Baghch-e-Simsim, the Afghan version of Sesame Street. In Afghanistan many households don’t have television; the radio broadcast allows us to ensure that lessons about literacy, numeracy and cultural understanding reach as many children in the country as possible. Read More
Ed. Note: Denise Albert is the Co-Founder of the lifestyle brand, The MOMS. She and her partner, Melissa Gerstein are contributors to HLN’s upcoming parenting show, Raising America. Denise contributes to The Huffington Post Parents and Divorce.
As a mom addicted to my iPhone and to technology I often struggle with how much time to allow my kids to use their iTouches. Truth be told, I wouldn’t have given them the devices at their young ages of 4 ½ and 8. However, their dad receives new phones from his place of business so our kids are the beneficiaries of hand me downs. Who would say no to that! Read More
Ed. Note: Susan Tofte is Sesame Workshop’s Archivist.
Beginning with the iconic opening lines to “The Sesame Street Theme” that opened the first episode, music has always played a critical role in setting the educational and creative standards of Sesame Street. Early songs such as “I Love Trash,” “People In Your Neighborhood,” “Green,” “One of These Things,” and “Rubber Duckie” (just to name a few) have a memorable and timeless quality to them. Many have become classics in their own right.
Take the song “Rubber Duckie,” Ernie’s classic ode to bath time toys. Written by Jeff Moss, the song debuted on February 25, 1970 during Sesame Street’s first season. In the skit, Ernie, performed by Jim Henson, soaks in a bath and sings the song to his very favorite little pal. When the Workshop began releasing musical content from the show on records in the summer of 1970, “Rubber Duckie” was included on the very first album. The song went on to sell more than 1 million copies as a single and reached number 11 on the Billboard chart in 1971. It was nominated for The Best Recording for Children Grammy in 1970, losing out to The Sesame Street Book and Record, which itself contained the song. Since then, the song has been included on 21 different albums released by the Workshop. Read More
It began with television. Sesame Workshop co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney looked at the television and realized we could be utilizing this powerful, evolving form of technology to educate children. 43 years later a willingness to use technology in groundbreaking ways remains a major reason why Sesame Workshop is an effective educational organization.
With that legacy of innovation in mind, we are proud to announce a new collaboration with Qualcomm centered on researching and developing new ways to educate children using mobile devices and applications. By bringing together Qualcomm’s cutting-edge mobile technologies and Sesame Workshop’s expertise in educating young children, Qualcomm and Sesame hope once again to revolutionize early childhood education. Read More