FOR LUCY SPRAGUE MITCHELL, the founder of Bank Street College in New York City, education was larger than the school building and greater than the book. Mitchell, who taught student teachers at Bank Street from 1930 to the early 1950s, believed that education should move the student outwards—physically and socially as well as intellectually and that education should be based on person-to-person relationships.
The person-to-person relationships Lucy Sprague Mitchell believed were critical to a child’s education included the people in their immediate world. Some of whom they might see everyday, yet remain in the background—the workers whose work sustains children and their families. It was not the stereotypic, “The Postman is our friend” variety, with which, unfortunately, many of us are too familiar. It was rather a study that enables children to relate the work of actual people and the ever-larger chains of interdependence.
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