Sesame Street, 50 Years of Fun and Friendship
It’s more than just cookies and counting, it’s about the creation of communities. Sesame Street is gearing up to celebrate its upcoming anniversary, and with 50 years comes a lifetime of memories. “For me, Sesame Street has been a part of my whole life. I grew up watching Sesame Street. We had three channels and channel 29 was one of them. And it was one of the things we put on first thing in the morning,” said Mary Jo Grieve, VPM’s Director of Early Childhood Education. VPM held a birthday party last weekend in celebration. Children and their families dressed up as their favorite Sesame Street characters. Members of our community, including Virginia 529, Pocahontas State Park and The Richmond Symphony celebrated the anniversary with character-themed booths with family-friendly activities.
In the span of 50 years, Sesame Street has touched the lives of countless individuals. “I just think that as an educator and an early childhood professional, Joan Ganz Cooney [one of the creators of Sesame Street] had the right idea by producing something that was appropriate for children because there was nothing then, thank goodness for her and Mr. Rogers,” says Mary Jo as she recalls how Sesame Street impacted her childhood. “They were the only two things in town that were appropriate for children that were also educational. I think she started sending the message across the country and across the world that this was a platform that we could create positive social messaging for children and families that creates social change. She was the one that was adamant about diversity and touching on things that no one else wanted to talk about, and now we have the gamut of characters on Sesame Street.”
Since its debut in 1969, Sesame Street has added more characters to help children from all walks of life such as: Aristotle, who is blind, Julia, who has autism and Karli, a muppet whose parent is battling substance addiction. Far beyond the songs and games, Sesame Street not only raises awareness but also normalizes things that kids deal with every day.
Thank you Sesame Street for giving us tools on how to count as well as always being there to count on! Happy 50th Anniversary! In honor of this momentous occasion, VPM will be posting our favorite Sesame Street moments on Facebook.