'Sesame Street' to begin its 39th season

June 20, 2008 at 7:21 AM   |   Comments

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NEW YORK, June 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. children's TV program "Sesame Street" announced it will welcome its first Indian-American cast member when its 39th season begins this summer.

The character Leela is described as someone who embraces her heritage and culture as she begins her new life in the neighborhood, working in the laundromat next to Hooper's Store. The show said she enjoys singing, dancing and helping her friends on "Sesame Street."

In addition to adding a new face to "Sesame Street," producers said the beloved preschool series will also spend more time on math literacy this season.

"The amount of 'math talk' children are exposed to during the preschool years directly correlates with their future understanding of mathematical language and concepts," Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, vice president of education and research for Sesame Workshop, said in a statement. "This season's curricular focus is designed to help children put their mathematical thinking into words and talk about how they solve problems."

Celebrity guests like Heidi Klum, David Beckham, Jack Black and Jessica Alba have also signed on to appear on the show in coming months.

The season premiere is to air Aug. 11 on PBS Kids.

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