The Kennedy Center

Sesame Street


In 1969, Sesame Street debuted to answer a single bold question: could television be used to educate children? Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behindthe iconic program, brought together a barrier-breaking multicultural cast, deep early childhood education expertise, and the unforgettable Muppets of Sesame Street , and proved that it could. The Sesame team has been asking big questions—and reaching inspiring milestones—ever since.

Today, Sesame Workshop is an innovative force for change, with a mission to help kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. It serves vulnerable children worldwide through a wide range of media, formal education, and philanthropically-funded social impact programs addressing vital subjects as diverse as autism, gender equity, and critical early learning for young refugees.

Sesame Street was the first preschool program to integrate education and entertainment and has brought joyful learning to generations. Currently airing new episodes initially on HBO, it has been broadcast continuously since 1969 on PBS in the U.S. and also reaches millions of children in more than 150 countries internationally. Indigenous co-productions reflecting local languages, customs, and educational needs have been produced for audiences in many countries around the world.

Joan Ganz Cooney and Dr. Lloyd Morrisett co-founded the Children’s Television Workshop (renamed Sesame Workshop in June 2000) in 1968, and Sesame Street launched the following year. Cooney, a producer and media executive, served as the organization’s President and Chief Executive Officer until 1990 and currently serves as Chairman of the Executive Committee of Sesame Workshop’s Board. In November 2007, she introduced the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, dedicated to advancing children’s learning in a digital age. Dr. Morrisett is an experimental psychologist by training. After 30 years as Chairman of Sesame Workshop’s Board of Trustees, he is now a Trustee and Chairman Emeritus.

Sesame Street