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TV Question: “Sesame Street” Celebrating 40th Year, But Is The Program Still Relevant?

sesamestreetgoogle_Full“Sesame Street” came to PBS 40 years ago to help urban and poor rural children learn. Many of today’s adults learned their ABCs and numbers with the help of “Big Bird,” “Elmo,” and other colorful “Sesame Street” characters. But with satellite and cable offering more programming choices for children is the TV show still relevant? And is the program still a useful tool to put children on the road to literacy?

We want to get a social worker perspective, so please leave your comments below.

And if you want NASW’s position on early childhood development click here to visit the “Help Starts Here” Web site.

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  1. From the NASW Facebook Page:

    Scott B.: Have there been any longitudinal studies done on Sesame Street as it relates to academic achievement? …or on any of the plethora of alike programming? It would be interesting to see if these programs and efficacious or are just like any other TV program; out to sell products during commercials.

  2. From the NASW Facebook Page:

    Scott B.: This actually sounds like an interesting dissertation rough idea!

  3. From the NASW Facebook Page:

    Jessica M.: Scott, look at what Disney just had to admitt with it’s baby Einstein videos, which promised smarter and well rounded children. It would be very interesting indeed.

  4. From the NASW Facebook Page:

    Rachel C.: Sesame Street is Da Bomb!

  5. From the NASW Facebook Page:

    Kaitlyn K.: KimThe market is crowded with “children’s programming” however, upon examination, airing a cartoon during daytime does not a children’s program make. Quality children’s programming needs to be mind opening, teaching relevant skills such as sportsmanship, tolerance and learning of new things, skills and cultures. I miss Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood & Reading Rainbow. Keep it simple and relevant. Teach kids to love to learn! And yes I am a social worker! :)

  6. From the NASW Facebook Page:

    Peter R.: Kids under 2 shouldn’t be watching any TV at all. Limit or forego TV for kids 2 and over. Provide space and opportunity to play creatively, by themselves and with others, hopefully outside at times when the weather is nice. Provide tangible, non-electronic toys and books and emphasize cooperation over competition. No parent ever said “I wish my kids had watched more TV when they were younger.”

  7. From the NASW Facebook Page:

    Dawn B.: “Sesame Street” teaches relevant information needed during the critical learning period, which parents don’t have the time to do nowadays.

  8. From the NASW Facebook Page:

    Cynthia S.: Especially the Pox news comment…Golden!

  9. From the NASW Facebook Page:

    Meka H.: I’m not sure. I was asking my 14 yr old a few days ago about Sesame Street and she did not know the yellow bird name. I was shocked but laughing at the same time. I guess most children are in to other shows nowadays. She was a Dora fanatic.

  10. From the NASW Facebook Page:

    There is value in Sesame Street as well as other childrens’ programming offered by PBS. We do not have cable so our daughter is not exposed (in our home) to all the other kids programming out there, and I am thrilled with that as there is a lot out there that I don’t want her watching. Not to mention we don’t get onslaught with the “I wants” … Read Moreafter seeing commercials for cool toys. She has learned many things from watching PBS programs as well as from Leap Frog videos. I have tried teaching her those acedemic things myself, but we both end up furstrated. I think another thing to look at is what these shows now offer, that they didn’t when we were kids. They now have online learning games that can further connections they make through the shows. In fact my daughter was just on there playing some of the Seasme Street games moments before I saw this post.

  11. From the NASW Facebook Page:

    My two-month-old niece ADORES Sesame Street. So long as someone’s watching it, I’d say it’s still relevant.

  12. From the NASW Facebook Page:

    Love Sesame Street, I grew up watching it and my two daughters love it. It is one of the best children’s shows out there.

  13. From the NASW Facebook Page:

    My kids (2 and 4) prefer Nick Jr to Sesame Street and PBS. Nick Jr’s slogan is “Its like pre-school on TV”. I thinks the programming is about as good as it can be.

  14. From the NASW Facebook Page:

    My son used to watch Sesame Street fairly regularly. We thought he was too young to begin learning letters so we weren’t focusing on that, but one day he started naming the letters in his ABC book. After he started showing interest we really got going on teaching him the rest. I think it was Sesame Street that opened that door. (Not to say parent’s can’t do that too.)

  15. From the NASW Facebook Page:

    Are you serious? With all of he problems we face in our country and the world you want to get a social workers perspective on whether or not Sesame Street is still relevant? If someone likes it or a child is interested in it then it is relevant to that person. To others it may not be relevant. Who cares?

  16. From the NASW Facebook Page:

    When compared to other children’s programs on TV Sesame Street is highly educational. In my opinion it address lots of underlying issues in society including classism, racism, poverty, difference (as valuable), etc. The show also has an educational component like teaching counting, ABC’s, etc. Lastly, the show teaches moral lessons such as sharing… Read More, inclusion, giving, helping, etc. My opinion is that Sesame Street is a valuable program when used moderately with children and not used as a substitute for genuine interactions. All in all, the show is still valuable and relevant in todays society.

  17. I was a Sesame Street child growing up. I am older than the program! My daughter watchs it [ 2.5 years ] since she is 9 months old. She can count, knows her colors and letters. This season they are focusing on being green for the planet. No other programming is doing that.
    The academic and social values the show teachs are far better than any other programming on tv. In truth, it is even better than some preschools. I watched the 40 year anniversary DVD, pre ordered it of course so I had it when it came out last week, and I actually had goosebumps from the memories. I remember the lady bug picnic, if I knew you were coming I’d a baked a cake , and so on and so forth. Long live Oscar, Cookie, Big Bird, and Kermit the Frog among others! They were and still are timeless and true genuis thinking.

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