Sesame Street program improves development for children in Indonesia

December 09, 2010

Children exposed to Jalan Sesama, an Indonesian version of the children's television show Sesame Street, had improved educational skills and healthy development, according to a study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Over a 14-week period, the children who had the greatest exposure to Jalan Sesama improved significantly in literacy, mathematics, early cognitive skills, safety knowledge and social awareness, compared to those with no or low exposure to the program. The study is available online in advance of publication in the International Journal of Behavioral Development.

"I was amazed with how much television young children in Indonesia watch," said Dina L.G. Borzekowski, EdD, the study's lead author and associate professor in the Bloomberg School's Department of Health, Behavior and Society. She continued, "Mostly the shows children were seeing were of adult nature or dubbed episodes of Sponge Bob Squarepants and Scooby-Doo. In contrast, Jalan Sesama was created in Indonesia for Indonesian children. With this study, we present evidence that when a culturally and age-appropriate show is offered, it can change the lives of preschoolers. Our data show that 4, 5, and 6 year olds learned important and healthy messages."

Using a randomized experimental research study design, Borzekowski and co-author Holly K. Henry, a current doctoral student at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, examined the effect of a 14-week intervention on 160 children in Pandeglang District of Indonesia's Banten Province. The children, ranging in age from 3 to 6 years, were questioned on their knowledge and skills at the beginning and conclusion of the 14-week intervention. In addition to showing improvement in literacy, mathematics and early cognitive skills, the study found that children with the greatest exposure to Jalan Sesama performed best of any of the study groups, even after adjusting for baseline scores, age, gender, parents' education, and exposure to other media.

Jalan Sesama is produced by the Sesame Workshop with funding from the United States Agency for International Development. The program uses live action, puppetry (traditional and new), and animation to deliver relevant lessons on literacy, mathematics, safety, culture, environment and other subjects. Among the special MuppetsTM made for this specific show are Jabrik, a problem-solving and creative white rhino and Tantan, an environmentally-conscious orangutan.

A similar study was done by Borzekowski of Kilimani Sesame, a Tanzanian version of Sesame Street. In that study, published in July 2010, Borzekowski found that children with greater exposure showed more gains in cognitive, social and health outcomes than those with less exposure. Specifically, children who were more receptive to the Kilimani Sesame content had higher scores on tests of literacy and primary math skills, greater ability to describe appropriate social behaviors and emotions, and knew more about malaria and HIV/AIDS.
-end-
Funding for Jalan Sesama and research were provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Related Public Health Articles from Brightsurf:

COVID-19 and the decolonization of Indigenous public health
Indigenous self-determination, leadership and knowledge have helped protect Indigenous communities in Canada during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and these principles should be incorporated into public health in future, argue the authors of a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.200852.

Public health consequences of policing homelessness
In a new study examining homelessness, researchers find that policy such a lifestyle has massive public health implications, making sleeping on the street even MORE unhealthy.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic likely to cause long-term health problems, Yale School of Public Health finds
The coronavirus pandemic's life-altering effects are likely to result in lasting physical and mental health consequences for many people--particularly those from vulnerable populations--a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health finds.

The Lancet Public Health: US modelling study estimates impact of school closures for COVID-19 on US health-care workforce and associated mortality
US policymakers considering physical distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 face a difficult trade-off between closing schools to reduce transmission and new cases, and potential health-care worker absenteeism due to additional childcare needs that could ultimately increase mortality from COVID-19, according to new modelling research published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Access to identification documents reflecting gender identity may improve trans mental health
Results from a survey of over 20,000 American trans adults suggest that having access to identification documents which reflect their identified gender helps to improve their mental health and may reduce suicidal thoughts, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Study estimates mental health impact of welfare reform, Universal Credit, in Great Britain
The 2013 Universal Credit welfare reform appears to have led to an increase in the prevalence of psychological distress among unemployed recipients, according to a nationally representative study following more than 52,000 working-age individuals from England, Wales, and Scotland over nine years between 2009-2018, published as part of an issue of The Lancet Public Health journal on income and health.

BU researchers: Pornography is not a 'public health crisis'
Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have written an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health special February issue arguing against the claim that pornography is a public health crisis, and explaining why such a claim actually endangers the health of the public.

The Lancet Public Health: Ageism linked to poorer health in older people in England
Ageism may be linked with poorer health in older people in England, according to an observational study of over 7,500 people aged over 50 published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

Study: Public transportation use linked to better public health
Promoting robust public transportation systems may come with a bonus for public health -- lower obesity rates.

Read More: Public Health News and Public Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.