Straus Center for Young Children & Families

Our Work

The Straus Center exists to advance Bank Street College’s Mission & Credo through applied research and translational scholarship. This stance is in keeping with the College’s first principle of using research to inform teaching practice, policy practice, and justice-centered social reform. Our approach is based on the three core activities and associated guiding questions below.

  • Participatory, Equity-Focused Research

    What is the progressive early childhood education of the 21st century and importantly, what are its effects?

    The Straus Center pursues this question with the following stances:

    • Science is not neutral: We must critically reflect upon the historical role science has played in constructing race, class, gender, sexuality, dis/ability, age, and associated social inequities.
    • Participation matters: Research has traditionally treated children, parents, and teachers as objects of study. In order to rectify the silencing of their perspectives and experiences in the research literature, we will strive for their maximum feasible participation in research projects. 
    • Research methods are non-binary: Social scientific paradigm wars about what data and methods are a priori more rigorous are anti-scientific; ignore the value of methodological pluralism; and stifle the scientific community’s potential to help address the vexing social problems affecting children, families, and educators.  
  • Ground-Up Policy Analyses

    What should decision-makers know about how policies are affecting young children, families, schools, and communities?

    While policy analyses that consider outcomes and cost-benefits are important, how policies are implemented and navigated on the ground are a missing component of policy improvement efforts.

  • Synthesizing and Promoting Research-Based Practices

    What is the field already doing that is supported by evidence and what new approaches should be incorporated into educators’ toolboxes?