Bank Street Hosts Professional Development Visit for Early Childhood Educators

A leader in the field of education for more than a century, Bank Street College offers deep expertise and resources to help aspiring educators from around the world prepare for the classroom.

Salisbury University educators in the lobby at Bank StreetAs part of a professional development program at Salisbury University’s Samuel W. and Marilyn C. Seidel School of Education, Bank Street School for Children and the Bank Street Family Center welcomed 57 students from Maryland for an immersive day of learning on May 3. Designed to provide participants with an opportunity to learn firsthand about Bank Street’s approach to teaching and learning, the visit included a tour of the School for Children and Family Center, observational learning opportunities in classrooms, and a question-and-answer session with Bank Street educators. 

Visiting students were part of the Cradling the Early Years Apprenticeship Program, an initiative funded by a grant from the Maryland State Department of Education. The 16-month cohort-based program helps current child care workers, instructional assistants, and paraprofessionals earn their bachelor’s degree and teaching certification, promoting systemic change in the teaching workforce by elevating the professional qualifications of those already working in the field.

“We were thrilled to host this professional development program and offer students from Salisbury University the unique opportunity to see how learning takes shape at Bank Street among our youngest learners,” said Doug Knecht, Dean of Children’s Programs and Head of the School for Children. “The goals of the apprenticeship program strongly align with Bank Street’s broader work to improve early childhood education and strengthen teacher preparation, and we hope participants were able to gain valuable insights and inspiration to cultivate enriching learning experiences in their own classrooms.”

Organized in collaboration with Dr. Althea Pennerman and Dr. Chin-Hsiu Chen, faculty members from the Department of Early and Elementary Education at Salisbury University and coordinators of the grant, the visit allowed Salisbury students to observe and learn from Bank Street educators as they connect theory to practice in a real-world setting. The visit also offered participants a closer look at Bank Street’s approach to education, which is grounded in the knowledge that children learn best when they are actively engaged with ideas, materials, and people.

During the visit, small group tours were led by members of the School for Children Admissions Team and several parent ambassadors. In addition to touring classrooms to view how thoughtful design and organization can support children’s learning and development, participants explored specialty spaces, the outdoor playdeck, and the Bank Street Library.

Salisbury students also spent time observing teachers facilitate hands-on learning activities that support early cognitive and social-emotional development in the School for Children’s preschool (3/4s) through second grade (7/8s) classrooms and the Family Center’s infant-toddler and preschool classrooms. 

“For many of the Salisbury students, it was their first time visiting a school outside the Chesapeake Peninsula, and the organizers specifically chose Bank Street to demonstrate what is possible in early childhood classrooms,” said Jessica Anzelone, Director of Admissions and Enrollment, School for Children, who helped coordinate the visit. “The students shared that their visit to Bank Street was one of the major highlights of their teacher preparation program, and we are proud to be a part of their professional development and inspire the next generation of educators.”

To conclude the day, attendees engaged in a question-and-answer session with Knecht and a panel of educators, including Emily Linsay, Lower School & Middle School Division Head; Melanie Bryon, Director of Student Support & Learning; Jessica Freeman-Jeffries, Kindergarten (5/6s) Head Teacher; Angie Pflanz, Pre-K (4/5s) Head Teacher, and Jeannette Corey, Director, Bank Street Family Center.

The panel discussion explored strategies for building community, research-backed techniques for best supporting children in the classroom, and ideas for how Salisbury University students can bring more of what they saw happening at Bank Street into their own public schools.

“We were delighted to host Salisbury University’s professional development visit and provide students with an enriching learning experience to help prepare them for the important role of caring for and educating young children,” said Corey. “At the Family Center, educators create active, experiential, and joyful learning environments, and we hope students will use this inspiration from Bank Street in their future classrooms.”

Learn more about Children’s Programs at Bank Street