Talking With Babies
In a “Baby Watch” workshop, the workshop leader sits on a blue mat holding a wide-eyed 3-month old. She looks at the baby, speaking softly. He gazes at her and breaks into a wide smile. She speaks again. He makes several sounds. It is a conversation…
Small moments like these are where Nancy Balaban locates the true value in Bank Street’s Infancy Institute, the annual three-day professional development program she co-founded with Virginia Casper a quarter century ago. To her, these interactions demonstrate the importance of recognizing that child development happens from the very beginning of life.
This year’s Institute, held June 19-21, drew over 250 participants from 18 states and Washington, D.C. Presented by the Graduate School’s Infant and Family Development and Early Intervention master’s programs, the Institute provides a way for Bank Street to share its breadth and depth of child development knowledge in a way that benefits a far broader range of educators, care providers, children, and families.
“Attendees were directors, teachers, early intervention specialists, pediatricians, nannies, nurses, home visitors, graduate students, and social workers,” says Institute Coordinator Nancy McKeever. “And they were all unified by their concern for and work with infants and toddlers.”
Guidance, Resources, Experiences
Workshops and presentations at the Infancy Institute are designed to holistically address every major angle of the educational and caregiving experience.For example, participants learned the theories and science behind early cognitive development and the importance of sleep (led by family sleep expert Kim West), but also benefited from the tactical experience of building