Come discover the brighter, funnier, and even furrier Sesame Street!
This season Sesame Street unveils some of the most significant changes ever in its 33-year history. Innovative new segments, smoother transitions, and a deeper focus on school readiness are all part of the entertaining and engaging new format.
Why change? Just like you, part of our work is to find new ways to reach and teach children. Through the years our audience has gotten younger, and we want to meet the needs of our 2- to 4-year-old viewers by appealing to the way they think, learn, and explore. That's why brand new segments, and familiar old ones, will occupy the same time slots every day to make it even easier for you to plan activities around Sesame Street.
The new show is full of surprises, and is more interactive and energetic than ever before:
Response to Difficult Events
We know that everyone was affected by the tragic events of September 11th, especially young children. In response, Sesame Street has developed four new story lines that model behaviors and strategies to help children cope with tragedies, overcome obstacles, and learn how to express their emotions. The season's premiere episode features a group of heroes from Ground Zero. New York City firefighters arrive on Sesame Street after Alan extinguishes a fire at Hooper's Store. Elmo is frightened at first, but feels much safer after spending time with the firefighters, who take him--and viewers--on a tour of a working firehouse.
New Format Addresses Specific Educational Goals:
Each exciting segment of the new Sesame Street show addresses specific educational goals, which are then reinforced with engaging activities on the Web site. Click on the links below to learn more!
Greeting of the Day
Big Bird, everyone's favorite, feathered 6-year-old, greets viewers at the beginning of each episode and interacts with the audience while playing a sorting or rhyming game, inviting the children to sing and dance along with him, or telling jokes.
During Monster Time, children will see one of two things. Either children will see a Monster Clubhouse segment, which exposes them to a typical preschool day. Or, children will see classic monster moments, featuring furry favorites such as Super Grover, during this time slot.
The Monster Clubhouse segment features four high-energy monsters named Googel, Narf, Phoebe and Mel. Viewers are invited to join in the fun of the Monster Clubhouse routine, which begins and ends with a monster theme song, and can include a game in which children can learn about shapes and feelings, dance time, snack time, circle time, naptime, and exercise time. This segment encourages children to try new foods and play fun games and, most importantly, introduces children to the routine of a typical preschool day.
Number of the Day with the Count
Count von Count (aka "the Count") Sesame Street's leading number-cruncher, has inspired millions of children to get hooked on math. In a new daily segment, the Count sits at his organ and asks kids what the number of the day will be as he plays each key. When the number is identified, streamers, balloons, and confetti fly, and a quantity of objects that represent the number appear onscreen. Animated and live-action clips provide more demonstrations to help young viewers become familiar with numbers and understand what they mean.
Join the Sesame Street Muppets and friends, including Maria, Louis, Gordon, and Alan as they explore a child's real world and experiences in a complete story in the neighborhood. The stories focus on rich, relevant themes such as neighborhood and community, cultural diversity, coping with emotions, and friendships and other relationships. Four new story lines developed in response to the events of September 11th, for example, include:
Live Action Film and Interviews
Children talk about the central issue raised in the Street Story. For example, following a Street Story featuring Big Bird and Snuffy finding a baby's shoe and trying to find the baby who lost it, children will talk about losing and/or finding their favorite things. The live action films and interviews strengthen the educational content of the street stories as viewers hear children talking about their own experiences. This makes the Street Story more concrete for young viewers.
Journey to Ernie
This exciting hide-and-seek adventure game invites viewers to join Big Bird on a search for Ernie, who is hiding in one of many playful and imaginary worlds. Big Bird asks for children's help in solving the fun puzzles which lead him to Ernie's hiding box. The excitement builds as he gets closer and closer to Ernie. When Ernie's hiding place is finally discovered, the audience is treated to a classic Bert and Ernie clip. "Journey to Ernie" challenges children to ask questions, use various strategies for problem solving, listening, and identifying patterns.
Hero Guy with Baby Bear
Hero Guy, Baby Bear's imaginary, animated friend, is featured on shows that do not contain Monster Clubhouse segments. Hero Guy comes to life in Baby Bear's drawings to teach children about visual art, imagination, or problem solving.
Letter of the Day with Cookie Monster
Cookie Monster's "Letter of the Day" segment is an entertaining and effective way to help children take their first important steps toward reading. Each day, Cookie Monster pulls out a cookie with the letter of the alphabet on it, and tries his best not to eat it. Before finally eating the scrumptious cookie, he leads children through an exploration of what the letter looks like and sounds like, and shows that letters combine to make words. Multiple animated and live-action clips featuring the "Letter of the Day" follow Cookie Monster's antics. The clips focus on letter sounds and letter recognition, as well as words that begin with the featured letter.
Spanish Word of the Day with Rosita
Sesame Street's goals of embracing diversity and getting children to think more globally are furthered with the "Spanish Word of the Day." This lively new segment features the popular Muppet Rosita, along with Grover, Maria, Gabi and bilingual children from the Street. "Spanish Word of the Day" teaches second-language skills and fosters multiculturalism in a joyful and inclusive atmosphere--all longtime hallmarks of the show.
Elmo, his pet goldfish Dorothy, and the Noodles bring a 3-year-old's world to life in an interactive segment that fosters creativity, curiosity, and imagination as they learn about the topic of the day. Seven brand new "Elmo's World" topics will be introduced this season: Fish, Sky, Weather, Mail, Wild Wild West, Getting Dressed, and Sleep.
BLUES CLUES: Background and FAQ
Play-to-learn is the essence of Blue's Clues. Blue's Clues was created to celebrate the life of a preschooler-who they are, what they know, and how they experience and learn from everything that they do.
The premise of Blue's Clues supports the play-to-learn philosophy. While keeping an eye out for Blue's paw prints-Steve, Blue, and the preschool home-viewer happen upon some everyday problems that need to be solved to continue the story. The solutions to these problems involve a variety of skills necessary for growth and development.
These skills are:
Every episode is developed to fulfill the mission of the show: to empower, challenge, and build the self-esteem of preschoolers all while making them laugh. An in-house formative research team ensures that this mission is fulfilled and that all thinking skills are captured in the context of preschoolers' everyday life experiences. This safe and secure environment encourages preschoolers to learn, discover, and explore through play.
Q: Why do you show the same episode five times a week?
A: When we began creating Blue's Clues we studied how preschoolers watch television. As you probably know, preschoolers love to do things over and over. They may watch the same video, read the same book, and sing the same song repeatedly. This is because preschoolers learn through repetition. They learn something new every time they see it, and they feel a sense of empowerment through knowing the answers. So it's no mistake that the same episode of Blue's Clues is aired every day for a week. We design our show so that it has multiple layers that teach a skill set in varying degrees of difficulty. Each time your preschooler views the show, he or she is seeing and taking in more sophisticated information. In essence, a preschooler learns more each time he watches. You may notice that on a first viewing your child may be quieter and less interactive. This is because he is taking in a whole new set of skills. By the end of the week many children will have mastered the concepts put forth in the episode and confidently call out the correct answers. They are using their newly mastered skills to help Steve.
Q: Why doesn't Steve change his clothes?
A: In fact, he does change his clothes-every day! If you remember back to Episode 102, we see inside Steve's closet. He simply has a multitude of identical shirts, pants, and shoes.
Q: Why does it takes so long for new Blue's Clues episodes to air?
A: Each episode takes about ten months to complete from script to finished animation. A major reason things take so long is that every aspect of our show is researched and tested three distinct times to make sure the concepts are relevant to preschoolers.
Q: How old is Steve? How old is Blue?
A: You can find out about Steve Burns in our "Interview with Steve" on the "Inside Blue's Clues" portion of our site. However, we don't have access to some of his personal data, including his age. As for Blue, she is ageless and will always be about the same age as your preschooler!
Q: How can my child be in a video letter? Where do the video letters come from?
A: All of our video letters are written by our scripting and development department specifically to be themed for each episode. We use non-professional children doing real-life activities that correspond to the theme of the episode. We tape mostly in the New York area. In the future, we hope to be able to tape in other parts of the country.
Q: There's a rumor going around that Steve was in an accident. Can you tell me more?
A: Steve is alive and just fine, but when a show becomes as popular as Blue's Clues, there are people who think it's funny to make up negative stories to hurt the show or its stars. Unfortunately, once something like this starts, it's hard to stop it. However, it is nice to know how many people are concerned about Steve, and we hope that you will help us spread the good word.
Q: Which characters are boys? Which are girls?
A: Want to know who's a boy or girl? Here's the complete list! The girls are: Blue, Magenta, Paprika, Green Puppy, Side Table Drawer, Pail, Tickety Tock, Orange Kitten, and Baby Bear. The boys are: Slippery Soap, Mailbox, Shovel, and Purple Kangaroo. Isn't that cool?
TELETUBBIES: Background & Frequently Asked Questions
Teletubbies reflects PBS's tradition of providing age-appropriate, educational and entertaining children's programming that parents and caregivers enjoy and trust. The series is designed to encourage curiosity and to stimulate imagination, which are both essential in helping a child get and stay ready to learn.
Award-winning children's television producers, Anne Wood and Andrew Davenport, developed Teletubbies based on personal experience and extensive children's response gathering, ensuring the unique effectiveness of Teletubbies. Teletubbies is supported by a comprehensive outreach effort for parents and caregivers, to introduce the series' concepts and to enhance their role in the effective education of our youngest viewers.
Teletubbies breaks new ground with an innovative format and unique characters that give very young viewers the chance to see the world from their own unique perspective and interest. The series is crafted with the understanding that little children watch television in a radically different way than older children and grown-ups watch. Teletubbies makes liberal use of repetition, large movement, bright colors, and deliberate pace to nurture and reinforce the development of children's listening and thinking skills.
The Teletubbies speak a play language which accurately mirrors the early speech of a one-year-old child. The stories are structured so that the child is able to stay one step ahead of the Teletubbies, encouraging emerging skills of prediction and visualization and most vitally, developing confidence and self-esteem.
Teletubbies is created for today's children who are growing up in a landscape rich with technological tools. The Teletubbies are four technological babies who combine television technology with a soft and cuddly character to which a child will turn for comfort and support. Their role is to engage the preschooler and translate between their land and the real world. Putting the TV screens on the Teletubbies' tummies links these characters with the modern world in a surprising, comic and endearing manner.
Teletubbies is designed to encourage interactivity between the program, the young child, and the adult caregiver/parent. The series is a loving celebration of play, which is the way children learn best. Research has shown that very young children need and enjoy repetition in order to learn. The deliberate and frequent repetition used in the series reassures, comforts and delights a child and sets an effective stage for learning.
The pacing of the series is intentionally slow to give children, and the adults who care for them, the opportunity to interact with the Teletubbies and each other. The series recognizes the importance of movement and play in development and features a dance segment in each episode to encourage the viewing audience to get up and interact with the Teletubbies.
To date, Teletubbies has been an incredible phenomenon in the UK, where the BBC commissioned an unprecedented 365 episodes of Teletubbies. The series debuted in March 1997 and is well-loved by a billion children around the world. Teletubbies can be seen in 120 countries and territories across four continents.
U.S. publicity for Teletubbies has increased steadily since it was announced as part of the PBS schedule. Just a few of the American publications and TV shows that have featured Teletubbies include "Parenting," "USA Today," "TV Guide," "The Today Show," "Entertainment Weekly," "New York Magazine," "People," "Time," "Wired," "Spin," and "The New York Times."
Q. Don't the television sets in the Teletubbies' tummies promote television viewing?
A. Research tells us that 99% of homes in the US have a television set. Sixty-nine percent have two or more. And, 33% have three or more! Television is a part of our daily culture, and serves as a window to the world for many families and young children. Teletubbies combines the notion of this magical window with a ticklish tummy to create a child-friendly interaction with television.
Q. Why does Tinky Winky carry a handbag?
A. Each Teletubby has a favorite "thing," a "universal" toy that reflects an aspect of children's learning through playful exploration. Tinky Winky's bag allows play with volume. Dipsy's hat is for role-playing. Laa-Laa's ball reflects young children's fascination with spheres. Po's scooter explores travel and direction.
Q. Should a one-year-old be watching television?
A. As with all television programming, each family must make the best decision about the use of television in the home. PBS's mission is to provide appropriate educational programming for all ages. Teletubbies is an exciting opportunity to extend the reach of PBS's mission to the youngest viewer.
Q. How does the series reflect ethnic diversity?
A. The producers of Teletubbies recognize that all children want to see children like themselves in many kinds of situations, families and experiences. In each episode, one of the Teletubbies' tummies shows video of a child or group of children engaged in an activity, which may include a religious or ethnic celebration. The children in these videos reflect a wide range of racial and ethnic backgrounds. The ethnicity of the performers is also reflected in the individual features of the characters. Dipsy is Black and Po is Cantonese.
Q. How does the PBS program differ from the U.K. version?
A. For the PBS broadcast, several significant changes were made to adapt the series to American needs and tastes. For example, the Narrator and Voice Trumpets have American accents. Many of the inserts feature American children to reflect American culture. These changes make Teletubbies in America uniquely our own while retaining the elements that have made it such a hit in Britain.
Q. Why are there no grownups in Teletubbyland?
A. Imaginative games such as dress-up and housekeeping fulfill a child's healthy desire to act out the many different models, routines and roles in their world. The Teletubbies live in an imaginary world where they are playfully self-sufficient. Each program features the Teletubbies in Teletubbyland, which hums with the play technology that supplies their every need: Tubby Toast, Tubby Custard, and a conscientious comic vacuum cleaner, the Noo-Noo.
Q. Isn't Teletubbies "dumbing down" television? A. Teletubbies is designed for very young children who are just beginning to discover the world and make sense of it. It is no more of a "dumbing down" than Wishbone is to Masterpiece Theatre, or Bill Nye the Science Guy is to NOVA. All are developmentally appropriate for specific age groups. The series promotes the developmental tasks of this target age group. It may seem simple from an adult perspective, but it is right on target for young children.
BARNEY: Educational Philosophy
Barney & Friends was developed to address the interests and needs of young children ages two to five years. The programs are designed to enhance the development of the whole child-the cognitive, social, emotional, and physical domains. Young children are provided opportunities for new learning experiences, reinforcing existing skills, and the modeling of appropriate behaviors. A strong emphasis is placed on positive prosocial skills such as making friends, sharing, cooperating, and using good manners. This is accomplished primarily through the use of children's imaginations to stimulate language development, social interaction, problem solving, musical play, and physical activity.
Each episode is built around one theme, and each theme deals with an important childhood concept, like learning to count, identifying colors or shapes, or making friends. The concepts within each episode are repeated in various ways to reinforce understanding for young children. At the end of each episode of Barney & Friends, Barney concludes with a short talk directed to the viewer, known as "Barney Says." This closure technique reinforces and summarizes the episode's events, as well as the educational concepts presented.
The main character is Barney. Barney is an incredibly lovable, warm, and friendly six-foot purple dinosaur who comes to life from a plush toy by way of children's imaginations. Barney serves as a guide or facilitator for the children to use their imaginations to problem solve and to discover the world around them. Barney helps teach educational concepts through pretend play, singing songs, reciting rhymes, and playing games. Barney also demonstrates his love of books by reading good books and telling favorite children's stories. Barney is a friend to all children-they feel safe with Barney and look to him for reassurance and security.
Baby Bop is Barney's three-year-old friend. Her behaviors and level of development are representative of a typical three-year-old child. With her simple language, her curiosity, and her security blanket, Baby Bop serves as a vehicle for portraying the behaviors and activities of a three-year-old-someone with whom our viewing audience can readily identify.
BJ is Baby Bop's older brother. He is an active seven-year-old who enjoys playing with his friends and helping his younger sister. He and Baby Bop together provide opportunities to represent sibling relationships and those more negative behaviors not appropriate for the cast children.
The cast children represent various ethnic backgrounds and have diverse interests; four children appear on each episode.
Barney & Friends provides a television experience for young children that encourages active involvement. When adults watch Barney & Friends with their children and encourage active participation (by having children sing songs, answer questions, solve problems), they help their children benefit most from the show. This is enhanced when adults discuss the concepts presented in the episode with their children. Concepts are further reinforced when adults and children together repeat the activities, songs, and games introduced in Barney & Friends. These techniques for encouraging interactivity serve not only to intensify the learning potential for young children, but to allow fun and enriching opportunities for children and adults together.