About Bank Street

Our Approach

Bank Street’s approach to teaching and learning is widely recognized as the gold standard in progressive education.

Bank Street’s rich historical and philosophical commitment to progressive education is evident in our approach to the teaching and learning of both children and adults.

The Bank Street approach, known as the developmental-interaction approach, recognizes that all individuals learn best when they are actively engaged with materials, ideas, and people, and that authentic growth requires diverse and nurturing opportunities for ongoing social, emotional, and cognitive development.

At Bank Street, we view teachers and leaders as facilitators of learning. Therefore, we believe it is the educator’s role to meet students “where they are” to help them develop and realize their unique potential. By combining a deep understanding of human development and educational theory with a disciplined approach to observation and reflection, Bank Street educators provide students with meaningful learning opportunities best suited for their learning and growth.

Through this approach, students develop in the broadest sense: They learn to understand themselves more deeply and to make meaning of the world around them; they build the courage and confidence to think independently and creatively; and they develop the skills to work respectfully and collaboratively with others. Our educators encourage students to be curious, love learning, be respectful, embrace human differences, and engage with the world around them to prepare them to lead lives of consequence. Through thoughtful engagement with teachers, peers, and their environments, Bank Street students build the strong critical thinking and the academic and professional skills they will need to thrive in school settings and in life.

As progressive educators, we are deeply committed to strengthening the learning of both the individual and the community, including schools, caregivers, families, and the larger society in which all adults and children interact and learn. Through our work, Bank Street partners with local communities to support strengths-based, learner-centered, and equitable education practices that help influence positive learning outcomes for all students and educators.

Bank Street’s progressive approach to education proudly provides students, educators, and communities with a foundation for transforming our world in large and small ways. Social justice, advocacy, and building an inclusive community are at the core of our work. Every day, we challenge ourselves and our students to grow from the opportunities and hurdles inherent in people working and learning together. In the words of Bank Street founder Lucy Sprague Mitchell, “we see in education the opportunity to build a better society.”

Students playing peekaboo

Learn More About Bank Street

Our mission, history, and democratic leadership structure are the cornerstones of Bank Street’s progressive tradition.