Bank Street Model: Everything You Need to Know

This model of learning was adopted from Bank Street College of Education in 1916 in the city of New York. Through this non-traditional program, students are taught social sciences as a way of introducing them to the world in which they live; and via the aid of instructors – who function as facilitators – students are encouraged to actively engage in their education and vividly use their imagination.

The Bank Street method is a child-centric education program. It focuses on the curriculum’s diversity and offers students active educational opportunities in areas that develop emotional, cognitive, social, and physical growth. Active investigation, choice, learning through discovery, and independent pursuit are central components of the Bank Street model. Thus, learning typically includes group activities and handling more than one subject, which lets children learn at different levels using various methods. Often, play is used as an educational starting point, and teachers make the most of teachable moments wherever possible.

A driving principle behind the Bank Street model is that when children interact with their surrounding environment, including other people, different things, and various places, and then interpret what they have just experienced, they can become lifelong learners. As a result, students are given many opportunities to do this, which include using dramatic play, blocks, art materials, water, puzzles, clay, lab work, and field trips. They can select what they want to play with and work either on their own or in groups. The curriculum model considers that each child is unique and learns in different ways and at different rates. As a result, this model is flexible within a planned framework that encompasses developmentally appropriate skills and knowledge.

In the Bank Street model, teachers use every opportunity to promote their students’ cognitive development by creating an environment that promotes exploration, questioning, and a child’s growing understanding of rhythms, patterns, and relationships in their ideas and the surrounding environment. For example, if the children are playing restaurant in a play kitchen, the teacher may talk to them about different relevant topics, such as:

·         Where does the food arrive from (and even include a small lesson about farms and growing food)

·         What type of food they can get

·         The type of food they would like to eat

·         What foods are healthy and what aren’t

If the lesson goes well, the teacher may even bring in a nutritionist to talk to the children about making good food choices.

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