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About the Graduate School

The Graduate School of Education was founded in the tradition of progressive education and is committed to learner-centered education based on sound developmental principles. The master's programs integrate direct experience with children, teachers, and families, exploration and examination of theory, and observation and reflection. These programs prepare adults for professional work in schools, museums, hospitals, and community organizations.

We continue to find inspiration in the words of Lucy Sprague Mitchell's Credo.

Graduate School Statement of Practice

The Statement of Practice is an orienting framework that articulates some of the ways the Graduate School faculty strives to enact principles of progressivism. Its purpose is to make these practices explicit to us, our graduate students, and to the outside world.

Read more about the Principles of Practice and watch the special presentation.

The Bank Street Approach

The Graduate School provides its students with insight into a developmental-interaction approach when engaging children in learning. This approach recognizes that children learn best when they are actively engaged both intellectually and emotionally with materials, ideas and people. By using this approach Bank Street graduate students learn to foster children's curiosity, love of learning, tolerance of human difference, supportive sense of community, and engagement with the world around them.

  • Our approach is grounded in sound developmental principles.
  • We strive to foster children's development in the broadest sense by providing diverse opportunities for physical, social, emotional, and cognitive growth.
  • We respect children as active learners, experimenters, explorers, and artists.
  • We understand that children do not all learn at the same rate or in the same way.
  • We also understand that learning is social, and that children learn in interaction with each other and with their environment. We believe that the Bank Street approach leads to a lifetime of learning.

The Graduate School Experience

All of Bank Street master's programs include small group work, opportunities for active learning in dialogue with instructors and peers, as well as focused, individual mentoring and professional development with faculty advisors.

Supervised Fieldwork / Advisement

Graduate students gain practical experience in an appropriate fieldwork setting as an integral part of their program.

  • Students spend three to five days a week in their field setting for a significant portion of their program. Here they learn to take on new roles and to put their new knowledge into practice.
  • Each student has a core faculty advisor who visits each advisee in his or her field setting at least once a month.
  • The advisor observes and mentors each advisee, including meeting together with the student and the cooperating teacher or site supervisor.
  • The faculty advisor also meets with each advisee at least twice a month, and facilitates a weekly two-hour small conference group of student advisees.


The courses cover theory, research, and practical information preparing students to enter their chosen fields. They also require students to examine their own experiences in light of new ideas and new insights. In classes, Graduate students have opportunities for exploration, discussion and reflection. Bank Street faculty often model ways that graduates might work with children or with professional staff in schools, museums, or child life settings.

Integrative master's project or professional seminar

As students move toward concluding their programs, they use the integrative master's project or, in the Leadership programs, a professional seminar, to explore an area of interest in more depth. The IMP's and professional seminars are designed as culminating experiences that enable students to synthesize and expand on what they have learned during their graduate studies in order to further their professional growth through inquiry, reflection and integration.