LAWRENCE — When Rosemarie Truglio was growing up in Hoboken, New Jersey, “Romper Room” was the closest thing to educational programming on television. Like other children across the country, she waited for the host of that "live kindergarten" program to hold up her magic mirror and call out the names of children who might be watching at home. Unlike most other children, she would go on to work in groundbreaking educational children’s programming with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind “Sesame Street.”
As Sesame Workshop’s head of curriculum and content, Truglio has been shaping the curricular development of “Sesame Street” for more than 20 years. (Her expertise guides not just the content of the landmark television program, but also “Sesame Street” books, toys, live performances, theme park experiences and more.) Her new book, “Ready for School!: A Parent's Guide to Playful Learning for Children Ages 2 to 5,” is the first-ever parenting guide built on “Sesame Street’s” comprehensive school readiness model.
“Parents don’t need to replicate the school experience at home to make sure their children are academically and emotionally ready for the classroom,” Truglio said. “With a little imagination, kids’ natural play can reveal powerful learning opportunities everywhere. ‘Ready for School!’ offers a road map for parents who want to try playful learning with their kids but don’t know where to start.”
She will bring “Ready for School!” to the Lawrence Public Library at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4. The event will be moderated by John Colombo, director of the KU Life Span Institute and interim director of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The Raven Book Store will have copies of “Ready for School!” available for purchase following the talk.
Truglio attended Douglass Residential College, a part of Rutgers University. She came to University of Kansas – sight unseen – for graduate study in what is now known as the Department of Applied Behavioral Science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
At KU, John Wright and Aletha Huston mentored Truglio at the Center for Research on the Influences of Television on Children (CRITC), where she started her research on the effects of media content on child development. There, Truglio helped evaluate the outcomes of Topeka children who had experienced “Sesame Street.” Children who were heavy viewers of the program scored significantly higher on motivation, leisure time reading, social and emotional intelligence, and other markers by the time they were in high school.
After earning her doctorate in developmental and child psychology in 1990, Truglio continued her research on the effects of television on children at Teachers College, Columbia University. She joined Sesame Workshop in 1997 and is now the senior vice president of Curriculum & Content at Sesame Workshop.
Truglio’s talk is co-sponsored by the KU College of Liberal Arts and Science, the KU Life Span Institute and Lawrence Public Library.