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Letter From The Director

Hello Families!

As you navigate our pages, you will begin to get a sense of who we are as a center, and how we are connected to Bank Street College as a whole. The Family Center provides child care in an inclusive setting. This means that we make a conscious effort to have classrooms composed of learners of different backgrounds and various needs.  Our classrooms emphasize the individual learner, and our teachers focus on how to meet the needs of each student. 

We focus on the emotional life and world of the young child and his/her family.  We use emotionally responsive practice, which means helping families with separation, and facilitating the child’s entry into the outside world.  Emotionally responsive practice is also about focusing on the child’s emotional life.  Emotions for young children are new and sometimes overwhelming.  At first, children act out their emotions.  Teachers at the Family Center enable the child to use language to talk about their feeling as an eventual substitute for acting them out. 

The family center also uses the Developmental Interaction Approach.  Relationships are critical to a child’s well-being and growth.  We look at the child’s relationship to his environment and his teachers.  Our teachers understand the importance of being the facilitator and the scaffolder in the child’s play.  She knows her job is to extend the child’s exploration and interactions with the classroom environment.  Play in our classrooms are driven by the child, the teacher is there to create a safe space and to extend the child’s play.

Primary caregiving is one of the hallmarks of the Family Center’s curriculum.  The child’s first relationship with his/her caregiver is paramount during the itital five years.  At the Family Center, in our infant rooms, the child has one adult who is available for his/her major transitions throughout the day.  So this teacher will help the child say good-bye to the parent, will sit with him at snack and lunch, and go with the child to other spaces in the building or out into the community.

The teachers at the Family Center are highly trained professionals. Each of our teachers is dually certified as a General and Special Education teacher. Most are graduates of the Masters program at Bank Street College.  Our assistant teachers are usually graduate students here at the college, as are most of the supporting members of the classroom. The Family Center is intricately connected to the Bank Street Graduate School, and is a teacher training site.

The Family Center is a very special place that offers young children and their families a space in which to grow and learn.  Education is an intricate dance among the parent, child, and teacher which requires thoughtful choreography behind the scenes. I encourage you to explore our website, and attend our Open Houses to learn more about our program.

Mary Ellen Markman