“Sesame Street” is one of few television shows that many people watched as children – and now their own children watch it as well.
The puppet-based show is currently in its 50th season and for more than 20 of those years, the show’s educational curriculum has been guided by child development specialist Rosemarie Truglio.
Truglio is senior vice president of curriculum and content at Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit that produces “Sesame Street” and several other shows. Now, Truglio and Sesame Workshop have released a new book aimed at helping parents with their children’s learning.
It’s called “Sesame Street: Ready for School! A Parent’s Guide to Playful Learning for Children Ages 2 to 5.”
Truglio said that “Sesame Street” is constantly changing and rethinking its curriculum as thoughts on early childhood education change.
“Our curriculum is constantly evolving – it’s very dynamic – and it needs to because we want to make sure that we’re putting today’s children on a positive trajectory and get them ready not only for school but for life,” said Truglio.
She said “Sesame Street” used to be focused more on developing children’s basic academic skills.
“We used to say that the show was brought you by the letter A and the number seven,” said Truglio. “But we’ve changed our thinking to make sure that we’re providing skills for children to become much more focused on how they learn – having a positive disposition towards learning.”
She said that although “Sesame Street” might draw on the expertise of development psychologists and professional educators, the “real experts are the children themselves.”
“When we are creating stories we go into schools and we test out our story ideas to make sure that the kids find what we are creating meaningful to them, it’s engaging. Because if you can’t reach children you can’t teach children,” said Truglio
And the new book is aimed at giving parents a guide for teaching young children.
“We are often telling parents what they should be doing but who is telling them and showing them how to do it?” said Truglio. “(The book aims) to provide a resource for them and to give them a better understanding of what is developmentally appropriate, what is age appropriate?”
One message Truglio is particularly interested in getting across: learning shouldn’t be stressful. She hopes parents and children will instead find the joy in learning something new.
“Everyone needs to slow down a little bit. Children need the space to play,” said Truglio. “Children learn best through play. Children learn best through parent-child interactions – so it’s a how-to book.”