“C” is for Cookie Monster

Sesame Street first aired on November 10, 1969, when my son was a little over a year old.

English: AYASE, Japan (Oct. 13, 2011) Naval Ai...

AYASE, Japan (Oct. 13, 2011) Naval Air Facility Atsugi residents watch as Sesame Street characters Grover, Katie, and Cookie Monster sing and dance during a performance at Ranger Gym at Naval Air Facility Atsugi. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Vivian Blakely/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It started about a month after my husband had left for a year in Vietnam.

At the time, I didn’t turn on the television until after my son went to bed.

Parents and grandparents are still advised that children under two should not watch any tv, even educational tv, because they are better served interacting with people or engaged in creative, interactive play.

After my husband came home, though, Sesame Street became a Saturday morning staple.

I approved of its educational content, delivered in child-friendly ways.

Indeed, it was designed to capture the addictive nature of television for educational purposes.

The show’s producers hired comedy writers, not teachers, to deliver the content  that educational researchers told them would help preschoolers prepare for school.

Then, they tested rigorously to see if the delivery was effective in preschool education, as intended.

Blue’s Clues, which aired from 1996 to 2006, also used this model of basing their programming on children’s educational research.

Building on Sesame Street’s success with research, they added interactivity and developing a storyline throughout a program instead of keeping segments short, as Sesame Street initially had.

Sesame Street reached 1.9 households when it debuted in 1969.

Ten years later, nine million children under six were watching.

By 1996, 95% of American preschoolers had watched it by the time they were three.

What Do You Remember About Sesame Street?

The Muppets, of course.

Miss Piggy.

Cookie Monster.

Our son had a Cookie Monster puppet that you could feed cardboard “cookies” to.

And, who hasn’t pretended to eat their giggling toddler’s fingertips, while saying “Om nom nom nom nom nom” as though they were the Cookie Monster?

And, maybe it was the “C is for Cookie” short clip with the Cookie Monster that inspired my son on a trip home from day care to tell me “Cookies would be a good idea” for an after school snack in the car.

Kermit the Frog.

“It’s Not That Easy Being Green” was one of the first children’s songs I ever heard that talked about what the world is like from a kid’s standpoint.

Click here to hear a 1969 version of Kermit singing “It’s Not That Easy Being Green

Bobo the Bear.

Big Bird and Elmo, and Oscar, The Grouch.

Did They Teach Anything Besides the Alphabet?

In addition to letters, Sesame Street also taught more sophisticated life skills, like financial literacy.

In this segment, by PBS Newshour, Elmo and Grover discuss splitting the money they have into three piles: Saving, Spending and Sharing.

And setting goals for their money.

This summer, my grandson and I looked for a children’s cancer charity that would be a good place for his “Sharing” money.

For 43 years, Sesame Street has been providing the best kind of education for young children, the kind where they’re having fun and don’t even know they’re learning something.

Was Sesame Street a staple in your household when your children were young?

Do your grandchildren watch it?

Do they watch it at your house?

To you and finding gentle, entertaining ways to prepare your grandchildren for the world.


Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers

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