Where to Watch Sesame Street Online

March 25, 2024
David Sunnyside

When Sesame Street debuted in 1969, with its diverse cast of humans and furry creatures like Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch and Bert and Ernie, it was one of the first educational television shows to reach a large audience. It was also a daring experiment, designed to close the gap between the academic abilities of children from different socioeconomic classes and cultures.

And according to a new study published in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, that bold experiment worked, more than anyone could have hoped. Researchers Melissa Kearney and Phillip Levine scoured decades of Census and TV data, and found that kids who grew up watching Sesame Street in early childhood did better at school. They were 14 percent more likely to be above grade level at age seven, and the effect was most pronounced in boys and black children, groups that have historically had the hardest time keeping up with their peers.

In our interview with Kearney, she explains why the show was able to reach such a huge audience, and how its creators have built in lessons on reading, math, science and social-emotional development throughout the decades. She also shares her own memories of watching the program as a child, and why she believes it has been so successful in closing the achievement gap.

You can find a variety of Sesame Street videos, games and printable materials in PBS LearningMedia. Find the best learning resources for your classrooms, and engage young learners with Sesame Street.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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