Since it first aired in 1969, Sesame Street has been a unique and unparalleled presence in the world of children's television programming. The show has changed a lot over the years — mostly in response to the changing world we live in — but surprisingly, much has also remained the same.
More than 40 years later, Sesame Street still delights and entertains young audiences, and it remains the gold standard by which all other educational children's programming is measured.
Sesame Street Enters Its 43rd Season
Now in its 43rd season, the children's classic is still keeping its content fresh, and proving that it can remain relevant and topical despite its long history. Case in point? The spoof of the PBS drama Downtown Abbey, which recently aired on the show.
In the spoof, everything in "Upside Downton Abbey" keeps falling to the ceiling, and Sesame Street characters find that they have to change the name to "Right Side Upton Abbey" in order to turn everything right side up again.
Of course, preschoolers won't get the joke in the same way their parents will, but this newest spoof proves that Sesame Street can still entertain young and old audiences alike. Be sure to also check out the show's hilarious "30 Rocks" spoof — a must watch for fans of Tina Fey and Liz Lemon.
What Are Children Learning from Sesame Street?
When Sesame Street first began, children were not being bombarded by screens and media in almost every aspect of their lives, and the show really did help audiences — particularly disadvantaged inner city youth — to learn important concepts like letters, numbers, and various social skills.
Today's parents, though, have a tougher job than our 1970s counterparts, as we're constantly trying to make the most out of educational programming without over-exposing our kids to too much TV. Is Sesame Street still worth watching for its educational value? Here are a few of the concepts that kids are still learning from the likes of Bert, Ernie, and Mr. Snuffleupagas.
- Letters and Numbers. Whether counting with the Count or enjoying the "Letter of the Day," young children can still learn these basic concepts in a fun and engaging way.
- Vocabulary. With Word on the Street vocabulary incorporated into every show, kids are exposed to new words, and can build a vocabulary that will help them succeed in school.
- STEAM. The five tenets of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) are considered an integral part of each episode. A for the Arts was just added this season, through a new segment called "Elmo the Musical."
- Emotional Wellbeing. According to Sesame Workshop, "messages about sharing and growing together, dealing with difficult situations, and accepting others have been at the heart of Sesame Street from its inception."
Do your toddlers and preschoolers watch Sesame Street? Do you think the show is educational, or does it just contribute to more screen time for our kids?