As a child, most people do not realize that what they are watching on television is shaping the way that they think and learn. Even as an adult, it is easy to dismiss the true impact of television on education, whether it is, in fact, educational or not. Jim Henson was not one of those to so easily dismiss the chance to use television to educate children. Jim Henson said it best himself, “Television is basically teaching whether you want it or not.” As Creator of the well beloved characters of Sesame Street, The Muppets, Henson has touched the lives of millions of children worldwide. Sesame Street continues to be the longest running program aimed at the education of young children, so it stands to reason that Jim Henson’s impact on children’s educational television will continue to be felt for many generations to come.
Sesame Street, the television show that Jim Henson is best known for, had started as just an idea by Experimental Psychologist Lloyd Morrisett, PhD and Public Television Producer Joan Ganz Cooney (Palmer). Their main goal was: “to create a successful television program that would make a difference in the lives of children, in particular, poor inner-city children, and help prepare them for school,” explained Cooney (qtd.in Jim Henson the Biography). It was only a short while later that Cooney recruited Jim Henson, a well-known puppeteer, to design and create the Muppet characters, such as Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, and refine their specific personalities to educate children about the core curriculum for school, interpersonal relationships and how to deal with a wide range of emotions. These characters brought a life and a depth to the show that have undeniably never wavered, even after more than 40 years after thei...
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...tional television would not be what it is today.
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Jones, Brian Jay. Jim Henson the Biography. New York: Ballantine Books, 2013. Print.
Moskalewicz, Risha L. “Jim Henson.” Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. Web. 11 February 2014.
Palmer, Anna. "The 'Street' that changed everything." America Psychological Association, October 2003. Web. 15 February 2014.
Saunders, Tim. "Jim Henson - How One Man and a Frog Made a Difference." 16 November, 2011. Web. 15 February 2014.
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