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Sesame Street Turns 35 - Part 2
The trailblazing children’s TV show enters middle age with bold changes aimed at keeping it at the top.
The Sesame Workshop Model
When it comes to how Sesame Street has managed to endure the expansion in children’s TV programming over the years, universal credit is given to the brilliance of the “Sesame Workshop Model.” That is, its commitment to create new, curriculum-based, research-driven, kid-tested programs every year.
Under this model, “a curriculum seminar is held each season, so the entire staff can access outside information from leading academic researchers and educators on the current critical needs of children,” says Anna Housley-Juster, the Workshop’s assistant content director. Once the curriculum is written, a show is produced and then tested with an audience of children to ensure that educational, entertainment and engagement goals have been met with seamless integration.
“The beauty is that we are not afraid to fail,” Housley-Juster says. “If a message does not come across, we make changes. We are constantly raising the bar.”
“They don’t put any content on without really doing some amazing checks,” confirms Spinney. “This is one of the reasons why Sesame Street is superior to a lot of other shows for children.”