Can ‘Sesame Street’ replace preschool?

Can ‘Sesame Street’ replace preschool?

Sesame Street, a timeless television classic watched by millions of children since it first aired in 1969, was developed with the goal of helping children “master the addictive qualities of television and do something good with them.” Now, new research claims to confirm this.

Preschoolers who watched the show did better in school once they began, according to the study. Researchers monitored children with different television frequencies and found that those who watched the show daily were significantly more likely to be at the grade level appropriate for their age by the time they entered elementary school.

Boys and black, non-Hispanic children living in disadvantaged areas showed the most benefits to retaining educational lessons like counting, colors, sounds and life lessons such as socializing and sharing.

“It is remarkable that a single intervention consisting of watching a television show for an hour a day in preschool can be such a substantial effect helping kids advance through school,” study author Phillip Levine said in a news release. “Sesame Street may be the biggest and most affordable early childhood intervention out there, at a cost of a few dollars per child per year, with benefits that can last several years.”

Dr. Gabrielle Roberts, a clinical psychologist at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill., believes that television has the potential to offer both educational and mental health benefits for children.

“Television can offer a window to places and concepts, which we might otherwise not have exposure,” Dr. Roberts says. “It is possible that access to educational concepts, such as letters and numbers, may positively impact early educational outcomes by increasing familiarity and comfort with the concepts and with the process of learning.”

Previous studies conducted by the Educational Testing Services have echoed similar results, finding that Sesame Street has shown children have higher literary scores, better social skills and an increased interest in eating certain vegetables.

Researchers said the results could pave the way for low-cost massive open online courses that could help educate low-income families.

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  1. I watched this show all the time when I was a little girl. It’s nice to know that it’s okay for our children to watch TV and that it’s not all ‘bad’ for them! Thank you for the interesting article.

  2. Bert and Ernie FTW! Also Big Bird! On a side note we need to give props to Kermit the Frog!

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.