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Why Black Children Should Be Watching Sesame Street

By: Krystle Crossman

Sesame Street is a beloved children’s television show. It has been on the air on PBS since 1969. It is currently on it’s 46th season and still has not lost steam. There are a number of celebrity guest appearances on the show. It is probably the most well-known educational children’s program in the country. Sadly there are many kids that do not have access to the show because they do not have a television or do not get PBS. A new study recently released by Phillip B. Levine, an economist at Wellesley College, shows that the show is beneficial to young children, especially young black children who come from disadvantaged neighborhoods.

The study showed that children who watched Sesame Street when they were younger entered school with grade-level skills as opposed to children who didn’t watch the program. They found that black children who lived in lower income neighborhoods were impacted more than any other children. Similar positive effects were seen with programs such as Head Start or preschool programs. Levine states that while Sesame Street should not be used as a substitute for early education programs it is a great supplement to them.

Children who are home-schooled have an advantage as their parents are able to use Sesame Street to help with lessons if they wish or it can help when the child is too young for home-schooling to start and they want them to work on the basics such as colors, shapes and numbers. There is a great amount of bonding time that can come from watching the show with your child and interacting with them. It helps them to take the information in and retain it as well as spend quality time learning with their parents.

There are many critics that believe the digital age should not be as integrated into schooling as it is now but there are many things that children can learn from television programs such as Sesame Street or online learning tools. The characters that are developed on the show create an impression on children that gives them a positive outlook and creates a love for learning. While Levine says that the study is in no way saying that children should be in front of the television for hours or advocating that it should replace traditional schooling, it is an excellent supplement that can get your child on the right track.

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