Yesterday was a particularly sunny and happy day for little adults and big kids as the forty-second season of childhood favorite Sesame Street premiered on PBS. This year, the program will integrate a new curriculum into its shows to help their viewers get prepared for school by giving them more exposure to subjects like science and mathematics.
The STEM curriculum, which is short for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, will help children to think critically as well as encourage them to get more "hands on" about their learning. Experimentation will become as significant a part of the program as observation. The new slogan that encompasses the effort is "Let's Find Out!"
"Sesame Street's curriculum fosters children's natural inclinations to ask questions and encourages investigation and experimentation in order to make new discoveries," adds Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, Vice President of Education and Research, Sesame Workshop. "By approaching STEM education as an integrated discipline through the process of scientific inquiry, rather than individual domains, the curriculum helps children develop a better understanding of how things work, and builds stronger cognitive reasoning, critical thinking and problem solving skills."
Through out the season, a new character named Murray will lead the viewers in lessons that will help them understand the scientific method. Murray will start each of his segments with a question and then will set up an experiment that will help him find the answer. The new segment will be called "Murray's Science Experiments."
USA Today reports that during the seasons, Sesame Street viewers will learn how to build bridges, put together and launch rockets and use trial and error to help them solve problems. Rosemarie Truglio, the Vice President for Education and Research at Sesame Workshop, a non-profit that produces Sesame Street, said that children are "natural scientists" and the STEM curriculum will help viewers bring out that side of them more.
Truglio said that Sesame Workshop hit on the idea of incorporating STEM into its program when she read that U.S. kids are slipping in the worldwide math and science rankings and she felt that introducing math and science to preschoolers in systematic yet fun way might go some way towards reversing the decline.