Our work at the Family Center is grounded in the developmental-interaction approach. Developmental refers to the understanding of patterns of growth for people of all ages. Interaction encompasses the children’s interaction with the environment, with children and adults, and with materials.
Family Center teachers observe, assess, and reflect on children’s play to build curriculum that emerges from the children’s individual needs and interests. We believe that it is our role as educators to support the development of each child’s competence, autonomy, individuality, and creativity by offering them meaningful hands-on experiences and opportunities to connect with those around them. We nurture each child’s social relatedness, specifically their ability to care for others, form friendships, and embrace diversity. We see children as individuals with their own thoughts, feelings, and experiences and we work tirelessly to honor what is within each of them.
Infant-ToddlerOur infant-toddler program supports young children as they separate from their caregivers and helps them form trusting, caring relationships with their teachers. We know that this process is different for each child and we work with parents to make decisions about each child’s readiness to separate.
Play is at the heart of the Family Center curriculum. We see our youngest children as scientists who spend their days testing out hypotheses. This might happen during free play when children explore the properties of flour by digging into it at a sensory table or when they observe the properties of water when they jump in puddles on outings. We believe that real learning happens when children are allowed to investigate, create, and explore in environments carefully designed to inspire wonder and joy.
PreschoolOur preschool program is grounded in the idea that young children learn best when they engage with the world around them with the support of adults they know and trust. Play is at the heart of the Family Center curriculum and each child has the invaluable opportunity to try out new ideas, take on different roles, and practice new skills. At the Family Center, play is active, sensory-based, and joyful.
Preschoolers at the Family Center explore in their classrooms, in other areas of Bank Street, and in the neighborhood around us. We create opportunities for children to observe, ask questions, and interact with their worlds in ways that nurture their curiosity and expand their thinking. In our classrooms, children create art, tell stories, dramatize their experiences, build, and so much more. While our teachers are always thinking about what might come next for children developmentally, we are also committed to living in the moment and getting to know children in deep and meaningful way.