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New Study Says 'Sesame Street' Helps Kids Learn (and Confirms Every Parent's Secret Hope)

Children watching tv
Sesame Street debuted in 1969—and ever since then, the program that makes education entertaining has reached millions of little kids. But just how successful is the show in educating children?

A new study from the University of Maryland found that children who were exposed to the show did better in school. The team of researchers examined the educational outcomes of preschool children who watched Sesame Street when it first debuted. The group of children who had access to the show were more positively impacted throughout the course of elementary school than children who were not. Additionally, those who watched the show were more likely to stay on track academically, and the largest benefits were seen in children from economically disadvantaged communities.

"Our analysis suggests that Sesame Street may be the biggest and most affordable early childhood intervention out there, at a cost of a just few dollars per child per year, with benefits that can last several years," said Phillip B. Levine, one of the study's authors, in a press release.

While the AAP's guidelines and many experts suggest that parents should limit—and discourage entirely for kids under the age of two—screen-time, this study provides evidence that at least one television program really can deliver positive benefits.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

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