Guide to the Archives

RG6 Children’s Programs

Title: Record Group 6 – Children’s Programs
Call #: RG6
Dates: 1918 – 2007

Abstract: The records in this record group of the institution were first generated by the Nursery School of the Bureau of Educational Experiments (BEE) beginning in 1918 and, later, the Bank Street School for Children. In nine decades of Bank Street College and predecessor, BEE, several programs were established to observe, care for, educate, and measure the learning of children. Correspondence, observational research, reports, audiovisual media, publications, student work, and other record types document the productivity of these programs.

Language of Material: English
Location: Bank Street College Archives New York, NY
Preferred Citation: Record Group 6 –  Children’s Programs, Box #, Bank Street College Archives, New York, NY

Historical Note

One of the original experiments of the BEE was sponsoring intensive programs of observation and measurement of children and their learning behavior. Experiments were conducted in classrooms of Caroline Pratt’s Play School (later the City and Country School) which shared quarters with the BEE in a series of townhouses on West 12th and West 13th Streets. In 1918, Harriet Johnson began operating a small nursery program which became the Nursery School of the BEE in 1919. Johnson served as the school’s first director. Play School and Nursery School classrooms served as a laboratory where Bureau staff observed and chronicled children’s development. The progressive curriculum was enriched by a knowledgeable and truly interested central staff as well as the hands on opportunities available for students throughout the city. During the 1920s, despite a successful combination of educational practice and research, the relationship between Mitchell and Pratt became strained, and the City and Country School and the Bureau of Educational Experiments parted ways. In 1930, the Bureau acquired a former Fleischmann’s Yeast factory at 69 Bank Street and the Bureau and Nursery School made the move into the expanded space. The Nursery School was renamed in honor of Harriet Johnson following her death in 1934.

By the early 1950s, the philosophies of Bank Street and the Harriet Johnson Nursery School had diverged, and as a result the two parted ways. In 1954, Elizabeth Gilkeson was appointed Director of Children’s Programs, overseeing the establishment of the Bank Street School for Children. The School’s program was gradually expanded to include children aged three through thirteen.

Over the years, new programs were developed and added to Children’s Programs, including the Early Childhood Center, Family Center and Summer Camp.

Scope and Content Note

The Children’s Programs records are comprised of 5 subgroups; Early Programs, School for Children, Early Childhood Center, Family Center and Summer Camp. Access to certain records is restricted.


The record group consists of the following subgroups and series. Select a series for further information:

Early Programs (1918-1955)

Scope and Content Note

This subgroup contains the records of the early children’s programs at Bank Street, including the Harriet Johnson Nursery School, Nursery School Research and the Play School. Access to certain records is restricted.

  • SERIES A - Harriet Johnson Nursery School Administrative Records (1918-1955)

    Contains correspondence; nutrition, health and parent committee meeting minutes; personnel materials; program and curriculum development descriptions; collections materials; and lists of parents and student teachers.

  • SERIES B – Nursery School Research (1918-1945)

    Contains observations of two year olds in the nursery school and miscellaneous other records from early research in the nursery school.

  • SERIES C - Play School {RESTRICTED} (1917-1921)

    Contains observation records from the Play School, later the City and Country School. Access to these records is restricted.

School for Children (1950-2007)
  • SERIES A - Student Files {RESTRICTED} (1950-1970)

    Includes health and psychological records, admissions letters and applications, evaluations and report cards, achievement tests, correspondence, examples of student work and parent/teacher conference notes. Access to these records is restricted.

  • SERIES B – Admissions Office (1990-2000)

    Includes files from the SFC admissions office. The files consist of materials such as class lists, information for new and returning students and parents, schedules, correspondence, open house materials, acceptance letter samples and tuition and contract information. Original order was maintained.

  • SERIES C – Student Work (1965-2002)

    Contains illustrated books created by classes upon returning from field trips, illustrated books by the 13s, literary magazines, student newspapers and other writing samples. Organization is alphabetical.

  • SERIES D – Faculty and Staff (1962-2001)

    Contains faculty handbooks and directories in chronological order.

  • SERIES E - Publications (1960-2007)

    Contains general brochures, program descriptions and calendars published by SFC. Arrangement is chronological.

  • SERIES F - Parents Association (1960-2005)

    Contains parent handbooks and directories published by the Parents Association.

  • SERIES G – Events (1960-2002)

    Includes event announcements and programs from benefits, exhibits, tributes and commencement. Arrangement is chronological.

  • SERIES H – Visitor's Programs (1970)

    Contains registration forms and procedures from the 1970s.

  • SERIES I – Yearbooks (1981-2005)

    Contains an incomplete run of yearbooks from 1981 to 2005.

  • SERIES J - Audiovisual Materials (1959-2002)

    Contains audiovisual materials in various formats, included are recordings of classroom observations and commencement exercises.

Early Childhood Center (1966-1972)

Scope and Content Note

The Early Childhood Center began operation in 1966 with funding from the City of New York and the Office of Economic Opportunity. The Center, located on West 42nd Street, was an experimental multi-purpose parent/child community center. It was designed to meet the educational, health, social and economic needs of children and families in the area through classes and programs for all ages. It also served as a resource and consultant for other community agencies and as a demonstration center for Head Start and other child care and child development programs.

Contains limited records of the Early Childhood Center, including OEO grant proposals and contract materials.

Family Center (1994-1998)

Scope and Content Note

The Family Center is a non-profit child care center located at Bank Street College which also provides special education services.

Contains staff and parent handbooks, a draft status report and a brochure.

Summer Camp (1997-2007)

Scope and Content Note

Bank Street Summer Camp is a day camp program providing activities at Bank Street and throughout New York City for children ages 4 through 12.

This subgroup contains a camp mailing and brochure and application.

Controlled Access Headings

  • Corporate Name(s)
    • Bank Street College of Education
    • New York (N.Y.). Bureau of Educational Experiments
  • Genre(s)
    • Administrative records
    • Audio visual materials
    • Correspondence
    • Instructional and educational works
    • Publications
    • Reports
    • School Records
  • Geographic Name(s)
    • New York (N.Y.)
    • United States
  • Personal Name(s)
    • Johnson, Harriet M. (Harriet Merrill), 1867-1934
    • Pratt, Caroline, 1867-1954
  • Subject(s)
    • Child care
    • Child development — New York (State) — New York
    • Child development — United States — History — 20th century
    • Community centers–New York (State)–New York
    • Day camps
    • Educators
    • Elementary schools — New York (State) — New York
    • Nursery schools — New York (State) — New York
    • Progressive education
    • Teachers colleges — New York (State)
    • Teachers — Training of — History