April 22, 2013

RESEARCH: The Effect of Sesame Street around the World: A Meta-Analysis from 15 Countries

Marie-Louise Mares
Zhongdang Pan

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Publication Date

April 1, 2013

"...Sesame Street is an enduring example of a scalable and effective early childhood educational intervention. The significant, positive effects on cognitive, learning, and socio-emotional outcomes observed in the current meta-analysis represent real educational benefits for the millions of preschool-age children around the world who visit Sesame Street via their televisions."

This meta-analysis of children's learning in 15 countries, published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, draws upon 24 studies focusing on the impact on learning outcomes of viewing the television series Sesame Street. It is based on studies of the programme's effects, conducted with over 10,000 children as part of an effort to examine the extent to which children outside the United States (US) may learn from viewing Sesame Street on TV in diverse social, political, and economic circumstances - including in some of the world's economically poorest regions. Shaped by formative research, Sesame Street aims to create entertaining yet educational (edutainment) programmes with characters, sets, and content specifically designed for young children. Although many countries simply air Sesame Street dubbed into the local language, there are numerous versions of the programme that are created specifically for a particular country, co-produced with companies in that country. In 2011, there were 39 different international co-productions of Sesame Street.

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