Sesame Street is adorable, sure, but it could also set your kids up for success in school and work, according to a new study.
Published by the American Economic Association, the study, called, "Early Childhood Education by Television: Lessons from Sesame Street," was authored by Melissa S. Kearney and Phillip B. Levine.
Using data from the U.S. census in 1980, 1990 and 2000, the researchers compared the educational and employment outcomes of those who had access to viewing the series with those who did not. They found that the beloved program helped improve school performance for children exposed to it before age 7—particularly if they’re male—and led to long-term positive outcomes for its viewers in the education system and the workforce.
It's not too hard to believe, considering Sesame Street's efforts to expose its viewers to real-life issues in accessible ways, including the addition of autism-related story lines.
A few months back, the show released a YouTube video of Julia and Sam, two characters on the show. The two puppets are playing a game of tag, and then show us a "starfish hug" in which the two characters touch fingertips together like each finger is the leg of a starfish.
"Because Julia has autism, she doesn't like big hugs," Sam tells another character, Abby. "So we do a starfish hug instead." In 2017, Julia, the first muppet with autism, joined Sesame Street. The beloved children’s series leaned into inclusivity and autism education even more by adding Julia’s entire family to the show this spring.
A good reason to turn on the TV, no?