Ok, guys, I had a gritty, bloody action flick with expletives in the title all lined up to review today. And then I looked at my viewing history in Netflix, and realized that 80% of what we've watched this week has been ... Sesame Street. Now, I KNOW everyone out there has already seen, and was probably raised on, Sesame Street, but as I'm feeling quite sentimental today, I'm going to go ahead and review the show, anyways. So feel free to skip today's post, and come back next week when I review one for the adults! (or, non-parents-of-preschoolers)
I remember watching (and loving) Sesame Street as a kid. Coming back to the show as an adult, parent, and with some background in child development and early childhood education, I am realizing just how brilliant it is. Here are the reasons why I have no qualms about using Sesame Street as an electronic babysitter in the afternoon:
1. It teaches, really teaches. There are tons of 'educational' shows out there for kids right now. Most of them are fluff, mind candy for kids. Not Sesame Street! Sophie knew her entire alphabet by the time she was 2 1/2, because of daily doses of the show. I realized that Xander didn't know any of his letters (except for 'M', which is in the McDonald's sign). After a month of Sesame Street (thanks to Netflix, which now has 7 complete seasons available for streaming), he now knows several. And he doesn't only recognize them in isolation - he picked out an 'S' and a 'Y' in a sign when we were at the gas station yesterday, on his own!
2. It incorporates multi-cultural art and music. I love that Sesame Street exposes my kids to art and music from around the world. The other day we were watching a clip of a Picasso painting that had been animated and put to music. The cultural references include African, Cajun, classical European, Caribbean, South American, Indian and Asian.
3. It teaches social skills. Really. It does. The other day, Zoe was sad because Rosita and Abby weren't playing what she wanted to play. This is an issue I deal with Sophie about often. The characters have real feelings (including anger). Clips show kids crying, angry, happy, shy, feeling all the very real emotions children deal with daily.
4. I can't leave out the nostalgic aspect of the show. There's something so comforting in the fact that Big Bird still sleeps in his nest by Gordon's window, with his teddy bear Radar. Bert is still obsessed with bottle caps and pigeons. Oscar still screams, 'Scram' but lovingly tucks in Slimy every night. Maria still fixes the same toaster she was working on in 1983. And the lovable, furry Grover still stumbles and trips his way into our hearts.