We knew it all along, of course, but it has now been scientifically proven that Sesame Street does, in fact, make us smarter. According to a new study by Melissa Kearny from the University of Maryland and Phillip Levine from Wellesley College, a Sesame Street viewing session may present toddlers with the same academic benefits as preschool.
Furthermore, it has been shown that Sesame Street viewers coming from lower income neighborhoods are statistically more likely to keep up with their grade level and 14% less likely to fall behind.
If you didn't grow up watching Sesame Street, you missed out. Though I can't tell you with certainty that it helped improve my grades later in life, I do know that it made learning a lot more fun. Cookie Monster and Big Bird embody everything we strive for at Prismland. They remove the often felt pain, dullness, and formality that comes with a classroom setting and allow children to associate learning with lovable characters. When The Count (short for Count von Count) teaches you math, it's not math. When Cookie Monster teaches you about the letter "C", you don't think of it as English class. They even tackles more complex issues like HIV/AIDS for their South African audience with Kami, a five-year old HIV positive female Muppet.
Should Sesame Street replace preschool? Absolutely not! There remains a place for the traditional, yet valuable classroom setting in which children gain social skills as well as the abilities to study and be taught by humans (as opposed to one of Jim Henson's Muppets). But that doesn't mean a little time with Elmo and Oscar would hurt!