Occasional Paper Series #42

The Best of Both Worlds: Partnering with the Community to Create the Guttman Center for Early Care and Education

by Robin Hancock

The Guttman Center for Early Care and Education was established at Bank Street College of Education in the fall of 2016 with a gift from the Guttman Foundation. It aimed to provide quality professional development and support to mixed cohorts of family child care providers (early childhood educators running small private child care programs out of their homes) and practitioners working in early care and education center-based programs in Brooklyn, New York. Free to all participants, the Center sought to attract providers of all ages, education levels, and years of experience who were interested in deepening their understanding of early childhood development and addressing the needs of all the children in their care.

Family child care is the oldest form of child care in our society. It originated in a community-based approach to educating children in which young children were communally cared for by extended family such as grandparents and community members. In this context, a child’s success in life was seen as the responsibility of the collective. However, these days, family child care providers are often among the least supported of early educators. Part of a vibrant community dominated by women but with more and more men joining the ranks, providers in New York City are dedicated to supporting children’s well-being, safety, and development. There are significantly more family child care providers across the country than child care centers, and family child care programs are more likely to serve infants and toddlers (Howard, Malik, Workman, & Hamm, 2018).

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About the Author

Robin HancockDr. Robin Hancock joined Bank Street as Director of the Guttman Center for Early Care & Education in the Fall of 2016. She is an early education specialist committed to community organizing and strengthening the work of other educators. Robin began her career as a teacher and, after completing an MA in Social Anthropology at Brandeis University, she began to engage in social justice work with a focus on literacy programs and student-teacher professional development. In 2009, she completed a doctorate in Curriculum and Teaching with a concentration in Early Childhood Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.