Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

MAKERS Moment

How Do Children Learn?

How Do Children Learn?

More From Joan

In this video

Tagged as

Cooney talks about one of the most significant pieces of research she received from a child psychiatrist on how children learn.

Joan's Biography

Childhood Ambition:A nun, a mother, or an opera singer

First Paying Job:A clerk typist in the State Department

The Best Medicine:"I would rather laugh than do anything in the world... So I watch Jon Stewart every night to get some laughs."

All-Time favorite Sesame Street Segment:Herry & John John Count 20

A founder of the Sesame Workshop and co-creator of Sesame Street, Joan Ganz Cooney knew that educational television was her calling the moment she walked into Channel 13. Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Cooney moved out east after college working as a publicist for the likes of RCA, NBC, and CBS's United States Steel Hour. It was at CBS when a colleague told her about educational television and her new career took off.
 
At a dinner party with Lloyd Morrisset, an executive at Carnegie Corporation, a conversation on whether children could learn from watching television spurned into a study on the topic funded by Carnegie Corporation and conducted by Cooney. The final report suggested a show like Sesame Street. With $8 million in funding, the Children's Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop) was founded to produce the show. The first episode of Sesame Street premiered on PBS on November 10, 1969 to critical acclaim and high ratings, and after four decades remains a beloved children's television show.
 
Cooney was the first female non-performer to be inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame, was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton, was awarded an Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement, and in 2007, the Sesame Workshop founded The Joan Ganz Cooney Center, named in her honor.

Related Videos

Tavi Gevinson
Tavi Gevinson
Fashion Blogger & Feminist

At age 11, Tavi Gevinson shocked the fashion world when her blog, Style Rookie, became one of the most popular online style guides. A mere four years later, she is a notable and st...

Anna Rodriguez
Anna Rodriguez
Founder, Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking

Anna Rodriguez is the Founder and Director of the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking, an organization that has been helping victims of human trafficking since 2004. Sh...

Johnnetta Cole
Johnnetta Cole
Groundbreaking Scholar & College President

Dr. Johnnetta Cole is the director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. She was a pioneer of African-American studies and black women's studies and made history ...

Yang Lan
Yang Lan
Chairperson

Yang Lan learned from her resilient grandmother the strength of women and has been using media to show that strength ever since. She made a name for herself as a TV talk show host ...