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Five Moments that Define the First 50 Years of Sesame Street



  Big Birds (L) and other Sesame Street doll characters pose for a temporary street sign on November 9, 2009. Copyright copyright
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Sesame Street produced nearly 5,000 episodes , won 193 Emmy Awards, and now airs in 1

50 different countries. But these five milestones in the first 50 years speak so much about his success.

Since television first aired on November 10, 1969, millions of children have grown up hearing the classic tune on "Can You Tell Me How to Get, How to Get to Sesame Street?" "

During that time, it undoubtedly changed early childhood education around the world.

Here's how.

It all started at Harvard …

In the late 1960s, Sesame Street co-founders Lloyd Morriset and Joan Hans Kuoney turned to Harvard University's Graduate School of Education with a new approach to teaching American children.

A team led by a developmental psychologist works with the creators of Sesame to analyze child psychology and use the relatively new television environment to create fun lessons for children.

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Filming of an early episode in 1970.

They knocked out merchant puppeteer Jim Hanson to create characters like the Big Bird, and the set was made to look like a city street rather than a magical world. All four cast members were multiracial – an important decision for the era.

Harvard education professor Joe Blatt, who was a consultant on the show, says that the concept of using television – thought to generate only laziness. and bad habits in children – was a "brilliant and bold and exciting move" for 1969.

Prof. Blat says the program uses "powerful media strategies like jingles [advert] as repetition to do things that help kids learn instead of making kids want frozen flakes."

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Professor Blat received the Mapet version of himself as a thank you for his work

Death in Mr. Hooper's Real Life

When actor Will Lee, one of the original four cast members, died of a heart attack in 1983, executives made the bold choice to explain the concept of child death.

Lee was playing shopkeeper, Mr. Hooper.

"A big bird, when people die, they don't come back," apparently the grieving actor explains to the puppet, assuring him – and the little spectators – that after people die, their memory goes on and others continue their work. [19659005] The script was tested on children before it was broadcast, Prof Blat tells the BBC to ensure that children understand the message. Earlier tests led the show to throw away other lessons, such as a divorce segment, if they found that the children did not understand it.

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The death of actor Will Lee (second from right) was covered in the show

The decision to record Mr. Hooper's death on the show was "one of the first times they got dark," says television editor Polly Conway of the group Common Sense Media, which reviews children's programs.

"They understand that children can.

" And the answer is to never talk about death. This is to talk about death in a way that a four-year-old can understand, in a way that is fully supported by child research.

Ever since this death lesson, executives have never re-aired segments in which Mr. Hooper is present. "They said he wasn't coming back," says Professor Blatt. "And they stood by it."

HIV-positive mummer

To the surprise of the show's creators, who saw it as purely for the American public, the show was quickly adapted for international viewers. Even children in conflict zones or refugee camps can watch the Sesame Street version

Each co-production tries to help children understand problems affecting their part of the world. In South African sesame Takalani, heroine Kami is an HIV-positive cheese puppet whose mother died of AIDS. In Afghanistan, Zari and her brother Zerak model gender equality and respect for women.

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Kami is an HIV puppet whose mother died of AIDS

Mexico, Brazil and Germany were the first to broadcast duplicate versions of Sesame Street in the early 1970s.

Later, the Sesame Workshop leaders made plans to partner with television executives in countries around the world to specifically produce programs for local youth.

Television producers "bring the sesame model, this combination of curriculum and research, into one country and develop a new series with authentic local-country goals," explains Prof. Blat.

Sesame Street Worldwide

  • The Mexican Plaza Sesamo became the first international co-production in 1972 with the Brazilian Villa Sesamo.
  • Germany Sesamstraße debuted in 1973 by Holland & # 39; s Sesamstraatin 1976.
  • In Egypt Alam Simsim, the female hero of Hoka seeks to enable girls to hope for great things
  • A joint Israeli-Palestinian co-production was launched in 1998, showing about individual communities interacting with each other
  • In Bangladesh Sizimpur heroes gather around bath trees and tea shops and sweet – traditional gathering places in the region
  • Sesame coproductions work with displaced Rohingya and Arab is a child living in refugee camps

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Media caption The secret to the success of Sesame Street world success

In the 2006 documentary "The World according to Sesame Street, founder Joan Hans Kuni likens his work to missionaries, but instead of religion, the team "spreads tolerance and love and mutual respect."

Fifty years after its inception, more than 30 international teams have personalized local versions of Sesame Street content for more than 150 million children in 150 countries.

Character for homeless people

Since 2015, an online library called Sesame Street in Communities has been upgrading curricula tested on children around the world to help American neighborhoods deal with daily American struggles as school shootings, addictions and fast-changing

In 2018, a seven-year-old pink puppy named Lilly became the first Sesame resident to experience homelessness.

The most recently added mummer is Carly, a foster child whose mother is battling drug addiction. According to Susam, Carly's role is urgent, since at least 5.7 million American children under the age of 11 have drug-addicted parents in the household.

Over the years, other puppets have taught children about autism, divorce and smart phones.

Elmo testifies to Congress

The Sesame characters, and puppeteers and executives behind them are increasingly focusing on activism, with Sesame Street residents playing a role in policy-making around the world.

Against the background of the 2006 obesity epidemic, Susamovo gathered praise for broadcasting health habits, segments designed to teach children dieting and exercise.

Even the monster cookies declared cookies "sometimes food", and now teaches children a balanced diet.

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Elmo spoke with US lawmakers about music education in 2002.

In 2009, former First Lady Michelle Obama visited Sesame's studios to shoot a healthy eating segment.

Previous first ladies going back to Barbara Bush in the early 90's also recorded videos with sesame characters, both in the US and in co-productions in Egypt and India.

In 2002, Elmo also stepped into the spotlight on public policy when he became the first human or puppet to testify to Congress, according to the Washington Post.

He was invited to discuss music education by former Congressman Duke Cunningham, who later resigned after pleading guilty to accepting bribery.


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