Saturday, August 15, 2015

Sesame Street

I was saddened to read that new episodes of Sesame Street will air first on HBO, a paid cable network.  There are so many levels of genius behind Sesame Street, but perhaps the most significant is the gap it filled for underprivileged children.  Any educator knows that all children do not start kindergarten with the same foundation.  All children are not immersed in print-rich homes with books on the shelves and magazine and newspaper subscriptions.  All children don't see adults modeling the importance of reading by not only reading to the children, but by reading to themselves for their own enjoyment.  All children don't have the luxury of a two-parent home with one parent able to take them to the library and other enriching outings.  All children don't even hear English spoken in the home, let alone read aloud in the home.  For the single mother working two jobs to put food on the table for her children, the health and safety of her children may take precedence over their literacy development, no matter how important she may realize that literacy development is.  Literacy is the most important thing that any teacher in any school teaches.  It is the foundation for all the learning that is to follow.  The old adage that in the formative years you learn to read, and in all the years that follow you read to learn, still holds true.  If you cannot read, and you have no support network at home, how can you ever  compete?   For children in these circumstances, engaging educational programming on public television is a dire need.  For young children whose brains are developing at the most amazing rates of their entire lives, depriving them of anything to enhance that development is unfair.  It is also unfair to the rest of our society, as these children could grow to be our future leaders and thinkers.  Can we afford to thwart their potential by depriving them of a solid foundation?  Should only the children of those parents wealthy enough to afford cable t.v., have the benefit of  new episodes of Sesame Street?  In this time of income inequality, do we really need anything that furthers the gap between the haves and the have nots?

Happy reading,
Christine

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