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Bank Street Approach

In 1916...

In 1916, visionary educator Lucy Sprague Mitchell founded what is now known as The Bank Street School for Children in New York City. It was a laboratory nursery school staffed by teachers, psychologists and researchers who worked to determine the best kind of environment to help children grow and learn to their full potential.

In the Bank Street approach, also known as the Development-Interaction approach, the emphasis is on educating the whole child — emotionally, socially, physically and intellectually — in an experience-based, interdisciplinary and collaborative setting.

Teachers that use the Bank Street approach are aware of the whole child, their engagement with the world and their interests. This can lead to meaningful learning. A moment at free play when children pretend to deliver the mail can become a whole unit on the postal service, how our mail gets to us, how to write a letter, mapping a route and so on. It may even include a field trip to the local post office. “The curricula can be individualized based on the children’s interests and stage of development. The children are allowed to learn through interaction.”


Bank Street Approach




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