Is Sesame Street more important than preschool?

According to a new study produced by Melissa Kearney of the University of Maryland and Phillip Levine of Wellesley College, Sesame Street teaches children just as well as preschool.

Well, kind of.

The Washington Post reports that “kids can learn as much from ‘Sesame Street’ as from preschool” because of the show’s focus on “academic curriculum.”

Levine and Kearney’s study found that kids received the same benefits from Sesame Street as they did with Head Start. While other studies have explored the notion of if preschool was needed at all, this one adds another layer to that argument by maybe proving that educational television may be just as vital to a child’s development.

Kearney told the Post that due to the benefits of the study that it may open more doors to alternative forms of education down the road. With the cost of college rising, student loan debt exploding, and educators searching for new and innovative ways to educate students, having something similar to Sesame Street on TV or via the internet may serve a new population of students.

Free and sustainable forms of education are readily available via Massive Open Online Courses and this study further proves the viability of alternative forms of free education. It seems to me that the focus should be more on open access to high standards of education, and less on what price tag we can put on these items. There is a reason that Sesame Street has such a lasting appeal — and I think it can teach all educators some lessons in the best way to reach students.

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