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Lucy Sprague Mitchell suggests that a teacher must get very familiar with the subject taught and “when she knows all this and much, much, much more, she must keep most of it to herself! She does not gather information to become an encyclopedia, a peripatetic textbook. She gathers this information in order to place the children in strategic positions for making explorations, in order to plan trips which will lead to significant discoveries, in short, in order to use her environment as a laboratory.”
     —Lucy Sprague Mitchell, Young Geographers, pg. 36.

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At the Bank Street School for Children, it is our core philosophy that children engage in their own learning, primarily through direct experiences. We provide children with experiences that nurture curiosity and investigation, that encourage active investigation and inquiry in all avenues of learning. Through this process of learning, children gain connections to the subjects taught and develop multiple ways to process and relate to the world around them.

In addition to these direct experiences, we use books, documents, teacher-made and internet resources. Our social study curricula draw upon and extend children’s developing skills as social beings and activists, readers and writers, along with their artistic skills as makers and visionaries. It is essential to consider all of the many ways children can process and engage in learning. This consideration guides us in thinking about differentiating and the various modes of learning and assessment.