June 8, 2016

Remembering EDC Co-Founder Jerome Bruner

EDC is saddened by the death of Jerome Bruner, co-founder of EDC and a long-time faculty member at the New York University School of Education, who died June 5 at the age of 100.

Bruner is remembered as a visionary educator who offered groundbreaking insights into how children learn. His legacy is seen in EDC’s many curricula and materials that prioritize students’ role in their own learning.

“Jerome Bruner had a profound effect on the way we create curricula here at EDC,” says EDC Vice President Joanne Brady. “Our practice of cross-disciplinary instructional design and our commitment to teachers as co-constructors and partners is very much the result of his imprint. It’s a legacy we cherish.”

Bruner was instrumental in some of EDC’s earliest projects, many of which had lasting and significant impact. He was one of the architects of Man: A Course of Study, a revolutionary social sciences curriculum, and his research into cognitive development—particularly his ideas that young children construct new knowledge from previous experiences and ideas—continues to inform EDC’s mathematics and science programs today.

Bruner’s ideas about education and cognitive development influenced a generation of educators and researchers, including many at EDC. His book The Process of Education is widely considered a landmark in the field. His belief that young children learn best when surrounded by authentic, engaging experiences was also a key spark behind the creation of the federal Head Start program.

“What I will always remember, and what informed all of our work at EDC because of Jerome, was his emphasis on the centrality of asking the right questions to inform our work,” says Janet Whitla, former president and CEO of EDC. “It underpinned our enduring commitment to human development. He was truly one of a kind, one of the great educators and a remarkable mentor as well as founder of EDC.”