Evolveidea.com, The Creativity Site

HomeInspirationWorks of Genius
Some of the iconic characters of Sesame Street

Sesame Street

Whenever we hear names such as Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and Elmo, it brings one TV show to mind - Sesame Street. This is because Sesame Street has been the gold standard in children's television shows for decades. However, this should come as no surprise because it is the first children's program to be based on formative and laboratory research.

The idea for Sesame Street first came about during a discussion between Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett in 1966. They talked about the addictive qualities of television and how it could be harnessed as a means for educating children. After a great deal of work, Cooney and her team eventually developed a model called the Children's Television Workshop (CTW) model. This model consisted of an interaction between producers and child psychologists, creating an age appropriate curriculum, direct research to shape the program, and an independent assessment of how much the viewers learned. This level of collaboration, research and feedback for producing a children's show was truly unprecedented.

One of the talents that they recruited was Jim Henson who was the creator of the Muppets. The team knew that the Muppets would appeal to children, but there were questions about whether the Muppets should be shown interacting with real people. These concerns were quickly dispelled because the wide variety of personalities portrayed by the Muppets were believable and very entertaining. In fact, they quickly formed the backbone of the show.

Born to Add as seen on Sesame Street

From the beginning, Sesame Street was intended to cater to a wide range of ethnic groups and income levels. To this end, the producers used a very diverse cast and they also used a relatively low income neighborhood as the setting for the show in order to not alienate the less affluent viewers. Each show is like a series of short stories that are told in different formats and they emphasized both cognitive and social skills. The makers of Sesame Street even added subtle humor and parodies to keep the parents entertained because they understand that parental interaction is a vital factor in children's learning. When we consider all of the factors which contribute to making Sesame Street the superb show that it is, there is no question that it is a work of genius.

Previous work of genius      Next work of genius