"The mission of Bank Street College is to improve the education of children and their teachers by applying to the educational process all available knowledge about learning and growth, and by connecting teaching and learning meaningfully to the outside world. In so doing, we seek to strengthen not only individuals, but the community as well, including family, school, and the larger society in which adults and children, in all their diversity, interact and learn. We see in education the opportunity to build a better society.
Philosphy - Education at the School for Children is experienced-based, interdisciplinary, and collaborative. There is an emphasis on educating the whole child - the intellectual, emotional, and physical aspects of the person. One of the most important organizing principles of education at Bank Street is that in order for children to learn in school and to become lifelong learners, they must interact with their environment (people, places, and things) and interpret their experience. For students at the School for Children, cooking, block building, dramatic play, lab work, painting, and field trips are regarded as basic life experiences from which understanding and knowledge can be constructed.
There are different ways of talking about the educational philosophy of Bank Street. A parent will hear some of the following descriptions when speaking with her or his child's teacher: experiential education: carefully designed and executed educational experiences that are reconstructed and reflected upon in a variety of ways thorough talking, drawing, building, and acting; constructivism: the idea that a child makes discoveries from his or her own observations, explorations, and experiences, and then uses all of them to construct understanding. Constructivists say that the child is the 'maker of meaning'; ownership of learning: because a student is directly involved with the environment and with assorted learning experiences, he or she feels more invested and more excited about learning.
It is fairly common to see younger children learning by experimenting with and exploring materials and resources in most schools. What is unique about the School for Children is that this kind of learning is extended throughout all the grades. Our commitment to the principles outlined above means that we organize our classrooms in a particular way, use teaching strategies that will encourage children to make discoveries and, perhaps most importantly, provide children with the time to 'make meaning.' Consequently, we choose fewer topics than traditional schools do, but we organize and develop these topics more thoroughly and in more depth. A unit that might take one month in a more traditional curriculum might last as long as three months at Bank Street." Extracted from www.bankstreet.edu/sfc