There’s more children’s television than ever to choose from today.
Even so, the long-running Sesame Street remains the gold standard for educational television, said Rosemarie Truglio, Ph.D., senior vice president of curriculum and content at Sesame Workshop, because its programming is backed by copious amounts of research.
Truglio spoke at the Lincoln Center campus on Jan. 24 in a wide-ranging conversation with William Baker, Ph.D., the Claudio Acquaviva Chair at the Graduate School of Education (GSE). She said that, behind the scenes, the show—which is aired in 150 countries including Afghanistan—is constantly changing.
Sesame Street is unique among educational shows because of its devotion to a whole child curriculum that addresses all aspects of child development, rather than a single topic like science or literacy, she said. To accomplish those ends, each season is followed by rigorous research that is then shared with the public and incorporated into future programming. In the last 48 years, approximately a thousand studies have been conducted and used to continuously update the show from season-to-season—often to the consternation of parents who were once viewers themselves.
“Parents call and say and ‘Why are you changing my Sesame Street?’ I’m sorry, but that was your Sesame Street. What’s on the air right now is your child’s Sesame Street. So what I want to know is, does your child like watching it?” she said.