Joan Ganz Cooney, as creator of Sesame Street, has benefited millions of young children.
After graduating from the University of Arizona, Cooney worked as a newspaper reporter. In 1954, she moved to New York City to write for television. In 1964, she received an award for her analysis of the antipoverty program in New York. That same year, after studying the use of television for preschool education and successfully soliciting over $8 million in funding, Cooney founded the Children’s Television Workshop and created Sesame Street.
Debuting in 1969, Sesame Street won numerous awards and is still seen by millions of children around the world. In some places, Sesame Street provides preschool children with their only structured opportunity to develop learning skills. Not only has the program enhanced preschool children’s understanding of the fundamentals of reading, but it has helped them appreciate the world and the variety of people in it.
Cooney’s research on poverty, education, and on children’s inquisitive nature, along with her creativity, led to this television program of unequaled success. Perhaps no other woman in the late 20th century has influenced the education of children as much as Joan Ganz Cooney.