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The Bank Street School for Children is an independent, coeducational nursery through 8th grade school in New York City. Our approach places children at the center of their own learning to help them grow as critical thinkers, problem solvers, and creators.

At Bank Street, students learn by doing. In the process, they develop a lifelong love of learning as they build the academic, social, emotional, and cognitive skills essential for success in school and life. Each child is valued as a learner and as a teacher, classmate, and member of the Bank Street community.

Lower (Nursery, Pre-Kindergarten, and Kindergarten), Middle (Grades 1–4), and Upper (Grades 5–8) Schools offer a rich learning environment tailored to support children at each stage of their development. Our school is a working model of Bank Street College of Education’s approach to teaching and learning, which builds from more than a century of knowledge on children’s growth and development.

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Teacher and student look at test tube

Why Bank Street?

As New York City’s leading progressive school for children nursery through grade 8, Bank Street School for Children is a model for child-centered education across the U.S. and around the world. Our curriculum engages each student’s natural curiosity, nurtures critical thinking, and helps to develop a sense of community and social responsibility.

School for Children at a Glance

  • 449
    Students Nursery Through Grade 8
  • 7:1
    Student : Faculty Ratio
  • 65%
    Teachers With Bank Street Graduate Degrees
  • $3.5
    Million in Need-Based Financial Aid

Mission of Bank Street College of Education

The mission of Bank Street College is to improve the education of children and their teachers by applying to the educational process all available knowledge about learning and growth, and by connecting teaching and learning meaningfully to the outside world. In so doing, we seek to strengthen not only individuals, but also the community, including family, school, and the larger society in which adults and children, in all their diversity, interact and learn. We see in education the opportunity to build a better society.

Lucy Sprague Mitchell at chalkboard

Credo

Over a century ago, Lucy Sprague Mitchell, Bank Street’s founder, wrote a credo that continues to define the spirit of imaginative and critical inquiry that motivates and guides our work today:

What potentialities in human beings—children, teachers, and ourselves—do we want to see develop?

  • A zest for living that comes from taking in the world with all five senses alert
  • Lively intellectual curiosities that turn the world into an exciting laboratory and keep one ever a learner
  • Flexibility when confronted with change and ability to relinquish patterns that no longer fit the present
  • The courage to work, unafraid and efficiently, in a world of new needs, new problems, and new ideas
  • Gentleness combined with justice in passing judgments on other human beings
  • Sensitivity, not only to the external formal rights of the “other fellow,” but to him as another human being seeking a good life through his own standards
  • A striving to live democratically, in and out of schools, as the best way to advance our concept of democracy
  • Our credo demands ethical standards as well as scientific attitudes. Our work is based on the faith that human beings can improve the society they have created.

Photo: Barbara Biber leads a Research Staff project meeting, circa 1956 (photo printed in Bank Street Profile: An Informal Report).

Middle school teacher working with a child

A Focus on the Whole Child

Through the ongoing study of how children learn, Bank Street created the developmental-interaction approach to teaching and learning. Grounded in a deep understanding of the natural stages of children’s growth, this philosophy engages the whole child for optimal cognitive, social, and emotional development and creates learning environments in which students are actively involved with the world around them to support meaningful learning. These ideas are the basis for everything we do at Bank Street.
History & Philosophy
Math Lab project at the Upper School

An Inquiry-based Curriculum

Children learn best when they arrive at their own meaning. Bank Street teachers encourage and facilitate student questioning, exploration, collaboration, and discovery. This climate of inquiry nurtures children’s ability to reflect on their own process and learning as well as their capacity for focused, goal-directed thinking. At the heart of Bank Street’s success are adult-child interactions that support each child’s learning and a social environment in which each child is known and respected as an individual.
Spotlight on Progressive Education


Financial Information and Accreditations

Bank Street School for Children is accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS). We have a $10.6 million endowment and a $20 million operating budget (including Summer Camp and After School Programs). Our affiliations include: National Association of Independent Schools; Elementary School Heads Association; National Business Officers Association; Educational Records Bureau; Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development; Council for Advancement and Support of Education; Early Steps; Parent’s League; Independent School Admission Association of Greater New York.