timeline

born 1929

Joan Ganz Cooney may have switched her major to Education because "it was something that girls of my generation did," but it didn't take long for her to defy expectations by becoming one of the first female tv execs and turning television into a lively teaching tool for children everywhere.  

Joan revolutionized educational programming by co-creating Sesame Street, which first aired in 1969 to instant public and parental acclaim. Now, more than 4,000 alphabet-sponsored episodes later, the show is still going strong, with Big Bird and his friends being broadcast in 140 countries for an audience of more than 100 million.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Joan Ganz Cooney (8)

"The national need for more and better educated people and the national demand that we give the disadvantaged child a fair chance mean that we cannot wait for the final and definitive word from researchers. We must begin to search for new means and techniques to solve our educational problems."

The Potential Uses of Television in Preschool Education: A report to the Carnegie Corporation of New York | 1967

"It is an irony of television that, for all its potential to educate, it also provides endless distractions from pursuits of the mind."

The Potential Uses of Television in Preschool Education: A report to the Carnegie Corporation of New York | 1967

"Responsibility has no gender; it makes us all rather sexless."

A Woman in the Boardroom | january 1978

"It's very hard for me to look back; I'm constantly involved in the next thing."

Archive of American Television | april 1998

"Oscar was invented because one of the academics had said that children should be permitted to be grumpy and know it's okay."

Archive of American Television | april 1998

"The question for me was, could TV actually teach? I knew it could, because I knew 3-year-olds who sang beer commercials!"

1968: The Year that Rocked Our World | march 2008

"Books engage the whole being because books don't bring you everything; you have to bring yourself to the book."

National Book Foundation's 2010 Literarian Award | november 2010

"No game experience can compare to being read to by a loving adult."

National Book Foundation's 2010 Literarian Award | november 2010
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curated with care by Alicia Williamson {june 2014}