Sesame Street Is Using Cookie Monster to Teach Kids to Become Executives
At a conference earlier this year, I joined a crowd of speech and language pathologists laughing at a video parody of Cookie Monster, usually panting and lusting after his favorite treat, as he suddenly stopped himself and sang, “Me want it, but me wait.”
The spoof of Icona Pop’s “I Love It” is part of Sesame Street’s year-long curriculum on executive function, which has been defined as the CEO of the human brain; in children, its translates into the ability to make decisions and regulate behavior. “…self-regulation is often a better predictor of a child’s academic success in reading and math than a child’s IQ,” the creators of the television show write.
And Cookie Monster has emerged as the movement’s poster child, showing the utmost “restraint and resolve” to not succumb to his love of cookies. (This is hardly the muppet’s first makeover; in years past, he was forgoing cookies to be more health conscious.)
With nearly 2 million views, the video is earning fans among the people obsessed with the stuff of executive function. Of late, there are many. Experts on Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, for example, have been redefining the disorder based on impairments in executive functioning. Of more mainstream concern is the lack of executive function skills taught in schools, amid greater focus on testing. My fellow parents often complain that they have to sit alongside children and keep them focused on their homework. But shouldn’t school be teaching them to self-monitor?