It should be a requirement that anyone who makes anything for children– I don’t care if it’s an animated movie or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich– take an entire course on Sesame Street. Ok, maybe you can take a mini course if you are just making sandwiches, but if you are creating any kind of media content for children, take some time and learn about Sesame Street and Sesame Workshop (the organization in charge of Sesame Street and other children’s programming)
In 1969, Sesame Street aired for the first time (yes, that means Sesame Street is now over 40!). According to Sesame Workshop’s Mission statement “research is our anchor and our compass” (Sesame Workshop Website). This is a powerful statement and one that Sesame Workshop actually lives up to. They started their television program to deliver educational content to children who may not otherwise be prepared for school. The focus on education was always their first priority, but the creators of Sesame Street knew that they couldn’t educate children if the children weren’t watching, so entertainment was key as well.
Sesame Workshop has done phenomenal things over the years and I know that I will continue to write about their amazing leadership in this field. But as a recommendation for any creator, start with the wonderful successes of media programs, like Sesame Street, and learn from them. Study, learn, and play with Sesame Street, it will only help your creativity and whatever product you end up developing. Please visit their website and watch their amazing video describing how the 1. identify the need, 2. create content, 3. conduct research.
Books and Resources:
Children’s Learning from Educational Television: Sesame Street and Beyond by Shalom Fisch
G is for Growing: Thirty Years of Research on Children and Sesame Street by Shalom Fisch and Rosemarie Truglio
Sesame Workshop: Inside the Workshop Website
You are the people who are changing the world for young children. As storytellers, you introduced children to creative thinking, exploring new ideas, and the use of verbal language to spread ideas and concepts to new people. As authors of books, you introduced pictures to the stories you told; children’s imaginations were sparked by an image of a character or a place. As film producers, you added movement to your pictures and your stories to provide children with opportunities to become part of new worlds, experiences, and relationships. As television producers, you brought moving motion pictures into the homes so children could watch and experience new worlds at home with their families and siblings on their own time. As computer programmers, you introduced children to a world where they could explore cause and effect; clicking a button on a keyboard resulting in some form of output. As video game developers, you provided children with a digital space to play and develop strategy skills. As web developers, you provided children with places where they can interact, play, and cooperate with children from around the world. As app developers, you have created games, activities, and experiences that children can take with them on their mobile devices. And regardless of whatever the platform or device is next invented, you as creators will be there to create experiences for children.
Creators, thank you for your dedication, creation, and imagination! As creators of content for children you have a responsibility to recognize the impact your creations have on children’s lives. At PlayLearnCreate, I hope to provide the wonderfully creative developers out there with a background in child development and an understanding of the research that has been conducted to understand how children learn from media. My hope is that creators will develop new products with a better understanding of child development and the well-researched practices that have been associated with learning from media so that their products will be the best they can be for our children!
Welcome to PlayLearnCreate!