|Developmental practice at|
the heart of all teaching at
I met with the Dean of the Children's School, Alexis Wright whose definition of progressive education ties closely with the developmental teaching practice at Bank Street. "We start with the children in our classrooms; of course we provide a challenging and engaging curriculum, but we design our program to respond to the developmental needs of the students." Alexis acknowledges that there can be a tension in progressive schools finding the balance between the academic program and attending fully to the social and emotional needs of the students. After decades of experience, Bank Street teachers have found an equilibrium in attending to the the full needs of the child and have created a model program. Being prepared academically means understanding how to approach problems; teachers focus on helping children analyze what strategies are necessary for solving problems in all areas of the curriculum.
|Students create a neighborhood|
On is struck, of course, by the heady atmosphere created by teachers constantly in conversation and dialogue about their practice. At Bank Street, professional development permeates the day-to-day environment. Research underpins practice, as interns "sit at the knee" of very experienced teachers who discuss the pedagogy that surrounds the teaching. It is a place of constant questioning and learning; an idea factory; intense and productive; an ineffable buzz of creativity and innovation.
|Work is carefully|
captioned (see opposite)
|Here the thinking of students|
is made visibe