International Versions of Sesame Street Are Also Awesome

This meta-analysis examines the effects of children’s exposure to international co-productions of Sesame Street, synthesizing the results of 24 studies, conducted with over 10,000 children in 15 countries. The results indicated significant positive effects of exposure to the program, aggregated across learning outcomes, and within each of the three outcome categories: cognitive outcomes, including literacy and numeracy; learning about the world, including health and safety knowledge; social reasoning and attitudes toward out-groups. The effects were significant across different methods, and they were observed in both low- and middle-income countries and also in high-income countries. The results are contextualized by considering the effects and reach of the program, relative to other early childhood interventions.

The authors are Marie-Louise Mares and Zhongdang Pang of the University of Wisconsin, and the paper will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.

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