Sesame Street, the world’s largest informal children’s educator, celebrates its 40th birthday on November 10, the exact day the series debuted on television four decades ago, with a new block format, a new show open, new nature curriculum and First Lady Michelle Obama.
While maintaining an emphasis on the importance of literacy and numeracy, the new season kicks-off “My World is Green & Growing,” a two-year science initiative designed to increase positive attitudes towards nature, deepen children’s knowledge about the natural world and encourage behavior that shows respect and care for the environment. First Lady Michelle Obama appears in the first episode of Sesame Street’s 40th season and teaches “the street’s” residents about the many benefits of planting a garden and healthy eating as part of Sesame Street’s ongoing “Healthy Habits for Life” initiative.
Surrounded by children and preparing to plant tomato, cucumber and lettuce seeds, Mrs. Obama explains, “All these seeds need to grow are sun, soil and water. If you eat these healthy foods, you’re going to grow up to be big and strong, like me.” Mrs. Obama continues, “I know you’re going to like these vegetables, because in addition to being healthy, they really taste great!”
Original songs, storylines and animations such as “Murray had a Little Lamb,” “Word on the Street” and “Elmo’s World” will continue to stimulate the preschool viewers’ awareness and excitement about the environment. Additionally, new words will be introduced at the beginning of each episode by Murray as he interacts with people on the street. In a series of 26 hilarious celebrity segments, words such as “habitat,” “metamorphosis,” “camouflage,” “hibernate” and “garden” are introduced to enhance vocabulary and further highlight the wonders of nature.
As preschoolers today have different viewing habits, the 40th season has been reformatted to resemble a typical broadcasting block. Murray the Monster Muppet™ hosts each episode from different locations linking four longer segments with fun-filled interstitials throughout the hour. The block format begins and ends with a brand new show open and close, integrating colorful chalk-art animation with the Muppets™ of Sesame Street, set to the re-versioned classic “Sunny Days.”
There is also a commemorative DVD release marking four decades of the landmark show, Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days. The two-disc compilation features fan favorites including classic stories, songs, monsters and celebrity segments. Additionally, a new, comprehensive, fully-illustrated behind-the-scenes, coffee-table book, A Celebration: 40 Years of Life on the Street is soon available.