Since 1969, children and adults alike have flocked to the place where multiethnic, multigenerational, and even multispecies residents coexist in harmony. The people on this very special street learn life’s lessons together, provide viewers with strong role models, and teach children that everyone brings a special ability to the community. Here, children learn to use their imaginations, build social skills, and respect people’s differences.
The phenomenon that changed the face of children’s television came about after co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney observed that children in underserved communities were at a disadvantage when it came to school preparedness. She assembled a team of educational advisors, researchers, and television producers to create a show that would directly impact children’s lives.
Sesame Street put television to work as an educational tool, and independent research has repeatedly and conclusively proven that the approach succeeds in improving cognitive skills, teaching respect and social skills, and promoting school readiness skills. Children who watch the show as two-year-olds gain an advantage in math, vocabulary, and other school readiness skills by the time they are five.
Sesame Workshop’s international co-productions are carefully crafted to meet local children’s specific educational needs. Child development experts from each country work with local directors, producers, and writers to translate the show’s magic in a way that resonates with children in a given country or region.
The action takes place in a variety of familiar, child-friendly settings, including a plaza in Mexico and a marketplace in South Africa. Additionally, each co-production includes characters – such as Samson, a big brown bear in Germany; Halum, a tiger in Bangladesh; and Tantan, an orangutan in Indonesia – that have been designed by local teams to have particular cultural relevance.