Program Character

The Art of Teaching program gives students a solid philosophical background in current thinking about educational theory and practice. Committed to a progressive stance, students learn to follow children’s thinking and learning through inquiry based teaching. Observation and documentation over the child’s school life are at the core of teaching practice. Teaching is understood to be an art form—ever in the making, never finished, always in response to the individual child and children in a particular setting.

  • Art of Teaching is a child-centered (birth through 6th grade), culturally sensitive, interdisciplinary teacher education program with observation of children at the core.
  • The program is committed to public education—including urban schools: graduates find teaching positions in a range of public and private schools.
  • Our cohorts include graduate students with a range of ages and backgrounds, enriching the sharing of experiences through recollections of their own childhood learning.
  • Our seminar-style courses provide an intimate intellectual setting. Art of Teaching seminars are a collaborative community of individuals—a model for professional life after graduating from Sarah Lawrence.
  • Students discover a great deal about how they themselves learn in every class by recollecting, reflecting on, and sharing their own learning experiences in childhood and as adults. Sharing varied observations and experiences with fellow students significantly informs the inquiry into teaching and learning.
  • Students learn not only how to observe, but also how to articulate and describe what they see. The “Prospect Descriptive Processes” provide important strategies for observing and documenting children and teaching practices. Patricia Carini, under whose leadership these processes were developed, has been a major influence on the program.
  • Students work with children at every point in the program—outside the classroom; in their jobs; at the Early Childhood Center; in fieldwork and student teaching placements at public and independent schools.  
  • Each student’s work culminates in an oral presentation of a focused Masters project, accompanied by documentation of coursework and work with children in classrooms.
  • The program prepares students to integrate the New York State Common Core Curriculum Standards into their practice, and leads to New York State Early Childhood (birth to second grade) and Childhood (first to sixth grade) Teacher Certification.
  • The program provides ongoing support for alums and their colleagues in the form of a Saturday Seminar Series.

Art and the Art of Teaching:
25th Anniversary Tribute to the Art of Teaching Program by Patricia Carini

For more than 40 years, Patricia Carini, co-founder of Prospect School and Prospect Center for Education and Research, has introduced numerous processes and philosophical approaches in the study of children to educators throughout the country. Her work was influential to those at Sarah Lawrence who created the Art of Teaching graduate program. Carini visited Sarah Lawrence recently to share her wisdom in the field with students and faculty.