Bank Streeters Come Out 'In Defense of Childhood'

Bank Street faculty and graduate students were out in force at the In Defense of Childhood conference on March 10, 2012, at City College. With a theme of “Keeping the Joy of Learning Alive,” the conference inspired participants to support children in their cultural contexts and to use inquiry-based learning to promote not only cognitive skills, but also a love of learning, empathy, resilience, and social awareness. The conference showcased 40 workshops that were attended by over 700 people.
Trips, Blocks, Play, and Song
Peggy McNamara, Chair of General Teacher Education in the Graduate School, facilitated Bank Street’s participation as one of the conference’s supporting organizations. Bank Street’s Bookstore set up shop at the conference and featured books like Out of the Classroom and into the World, by Sal Vascellaro, who was on hand to sign books and speak with participants about the critical role that trips play in children’s learning.
Bank Street faculty member Betsy Grob facilitated two workshops with Fretta Reitzes GS ’69 (Director of the 92nd Street Y’s Wonderplay program) and Julie Diamond GS ’73 (author of Kindergarten: A Teacher, Her Students, and a Year of Learning).
In the first workshop, they presented a framework for a rich learner-centered curriculum for Pre-K through 1st grade, and showed how to integrate it with the Common Core State Standards. In the second, a hands-on block–building activity was linked to the Common Core Standards while participants “deconstructed” the learning that occurred through their block building, and then assessed the teacher’s role.
Said Grob, “We were excited to

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