Annenberg Public Policy Center Honors the “Sesame Process” for Development of Children’s Media

Sesame Street, the long-running and award-winning children’s television program that airs on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), is the recipient of the 2012 Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) Award for Excellence in Children and Media.            

The honor will be presented April 12 during a 6 p.m. reception at the APPC, 202 South 36th Street, Philadelphia. Rosemarie Truglio, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Education and Research at Sesame Workshop, will accept the award, along with some help from Sesame Street’s Elmo.            

“While we have, in the past, honored individuals, this year we cite the ‘Sesame Process,’ which represents a unique collaboration between the many individuals who create characters, storylines, and episodes and which underscores the importance of research in ensuring that all Sesame Workshop properties are educationally beneficial,” wrote Amy Jordan, Ph.D. and Dan Romer, Ph.D., in the letter to Dr. Truglio, notifying Sesame Street of the honor. “Through the Sesame Workshop Model we identify the critical needs of children and create engaging, age-appropriate content for them that they can share with the adults in their lives to help better prepare them for school and for life,” said Dr. Truglio. “It is wonderful to receive this award from our peers for our ongoing efforts to help children reach their highest potential through the use of media.”            

Children and media scholars Dan Anderson, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Sandra Calvert, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Georgetown University, will join the team from Sesame Workshop in a panel discussion about the process of creating the quintessential educational television show for children.            

“The impact of watching Sesame Street is apparent more than a decade later,” said Dr. Anderson. “We noticed that high school students who watched the program when they were preschool age receive better grades in English, math, and science, and they read more books overall.”            

“The early social relationships that children develop with a trusted character can help young children develop early mathematical skills that are a foundation for their future educational success,” said Dr. Calvert, addressing the value delivered by familiar characters like Elmo.            

The award dinner will precede the 2012 APPC Conference on Media and the Well-Being of Children and Adolescents, to be held the following day. The conference will look at the challenges and opportunities for using media in all its forms to enhance the positive development of children. The dinner is by invitation only. The conference is open to the public.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania has been the premier communication policy center in the country since its founding in 1993. APPC conducts research and hosts forums in which communities of stakeholders come together to discuss the role of media in the healthy development of youth.