March 6 front-page article by Roxane Arnold, “Research, Not Ratings, Sets the Tone,” describes how young children learn geography from “Sesame Street,” that the creators are doing research on how to teach kids about relationships and that many 3 to 5 year olds who watch the show know their numbers and alphabet.
My question is: Why are we replacing real life experience with television viewing in the teaching of preschool-age children? Why not take our children to the mountains or desert to teach them about geography (or, more importantly, just for the fun of it)? Why not provide good role models for our kids if we want them to learn about relationships? And what twisted sense has us teaching kids their letters on TV?
As a parent I find that young children need to be out experiencing the world as much as possible and in as many ways as we can think of. They need to see the world, touch it and smell it to understand it. In my opinion, “educational television” may be all right when one’s alternative is a more deprived experience of the world. But parents, when we can, let’s turn off “Sesame Street” and take our kids out to explore our neighborhoods instead!