The Workshop Reaches Out: The Children’s Television Workshop papers

On display now in the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library through the end of 2019…

One of the largest and most significant collections found in Special Collections and University Archives are the records of the Children’s Television Workshop, best known as the creator of Sesame Street.  The collection contains research studies, production notes, memos and correspondence, promotional material, viewer mail, and other material documenting the first twenty years of the Workshop and its programs.

To observe the 50th anniversary  of the first airing of Sesame Street in November 1969, we are highlighting the ways the Workshop used newsletters to communicate with educational broadcasters, school officials, health educators, and parents.

These newsletters and many others found in the records of the Children’s Television Workshop provide detailed insight into the activities and programs of the Workshop, including some of their lesser known programs.

Educational Broadcasters and School officials

Throughout its history, the Children’s Television Workshop, now known as Sesame Workshop, has used newsletters to reach out to its audiences and promote its programming. The Workshop has created newsletters focusing on specific programs and addressing particular groups. The Newsletter, first appearing in January 1969, addressed “educational broadcasters, station trustees, local school officials, and opinion leaders”, providing a broad representation of the activities of the Workshop and featuring the full range of its programming. The examples on display here promote the premieres of The Electric Company, Feeling Good, and Best  of Families

Children and Parents

The primary audience of the Children’s Television Workshop are children and their families. From the very beginning, CTW reached out directly to children and their parents to serve their educational needs.

Sesame Street Magazine

Though not strictly a newsletter, Sesame Street Magazine was one of CTW’s first efforts to reach children directly through a regularly publication. Premiering in October 1970, Sesame Street Magazine featured educational stories, games, puzzles, and other activities that encouraged children to learn and play by interacting with Sesame Street characters.

Sesame Street Parents’ Newsletter

First published in May 1981, Sesame Street Parents’ Newsletter reach out directly to parents with articles by pediatricians and child psychologists giving parenting advice.  Issues often focused on specific topics, such as this issue from February 1982 focusing on discipline.

Specific Programs and Local Communities

In addition to using the Newsletter to communicate, the Workshop also created newsletters to highlight specific programs and address particular groups.

Feeling Good Report

Feeling Good was a  short-lived CTW program dealing with health issues that premiered in November 1974. Feeling Good Report began publication in August 1974 and reported on the educational goals of the program. Its target audience included “health professionals, station promotion and information directors, health educators, heads of medical groups and community health centers, leaders of health-oriented  charities, public health and other opinion leaders”.

Scope

Scope was the title give to CTW’s Community Education Services, a  function of the Community Relations Department of the Workshop that helped local communities in the use of CTW programming. Two versions of Scope were produced. One reported on the nation-wide efforts on the program.  Local field offices produced their own version, reporting on their own local efforts.


Post by Michael Henry, Librarian for Mass Media and Culture collections

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