Lessons Learned

The Sesame Street curriculum has evolved along with the show over the program’s 40-year run. We’ve chronicled some of the milestones by season.

Season 2 (1970–1971):
Conflict resolution was among the topics covered in this sophomore season.

Season 5 (1973–1974):
The yearlong curriculum included self-esteem and coping with failure.

Season 7 (1975–1976):
Episodes in this season focused on children with special needs.

Season 8 (1976–1977):
The differing roles of women were addressed, as well as challenging gender stereotypes.

Season 10 (1978–1979):
New York City was used as a microcosm of ethnic diversity.

Season 15 (1983–1984):
When Sesame Street regular Will Lee passed away, producers decided to have his beloved character on the show, Mr. Hooper, pass away as well, in an effort to teach children about dealing with death.

Season 19 (1987–1988):
Love and marriage were examined.

Season 20 (1988–1989):
Viewers learned about pregnancy, prenatal care, fetal development, and birth.

Season 21 (1989–1990):
With environmental awareness on the rise, Sesame introduced a season-long focus on water and energy conservation, littering, and recycling.

Seasons 22–25 (1990–1994):
Sesame tackled race relations in a four-season treatment of interactions between white Americans, African-Americans, American Indians, Latino Americans, and Asian- Americans. The episodes examined physical and cultural differences and suggested appropriate ways of reacting to such differences.

Season 30 (1998–1999)
: The “Elmo’s World” segment was created to explain each topic through the eyes of a three-year-old.

Season 32 (2001–2002): Music and visual arts were focuses.

Season 36 (2005):
This season featured a strong emphasis on science and how it relates to physical and mental health.

Season 37 (2006): Single parenting was spotlighted when Gina adopted a son from Guatemala.

Season 40 (2009–2010):
Sesame Street goes green, concentrating on nature and conservation.