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Sara Wilford

Sara Wilford
Born (1932-03-13) March 13, 1932 (age 83)
Boston, U.S.

Sara Delano Roosevelt diBonaventura Wilford (born March 13, 1932) is the daughter of Betsey Cushing Roosevelt Whitney, a prominent philanthropist in medicine and art, and James Roosevelt, the oldest son of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Anna Eleanor Roosevelt. Wilford is the adopted daughter of John Hay Whitney.


Wilford is a member of the Sarah Lawrence College psychology faculty. She has been the director of the Art of Teaching graduate program in early childhood and childhood education at the college since 1985. Additionally, she was director of the college's Early Childhood Center for 21 years (1982–2003). The center, which was established in 1937 as a “laboratory school,” allows graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in child development and education courses to both study children ages 2–6 and to directly assist in their education. During her tenure, the Early Childhood Center added a class for 5- to 6-year-olds, and broadened financial aid available to the center's students’ families.

Wilford teaches courses connecting child development principles to educational practice. She is a workshop leader for seminars and conferences on early childhood education and literacy development, and a member of Editorial Advisory Board for Child Magazine. She is the author of the critically lauded Tough Topics: How to Use Books in Talking with Children About Life Issues and Problems and What you Need to Know When Your Child is Learning to Read.

Interest in early childhood education worldwide led her to the Schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy in 1993, and to the U.S./South Africa Joint Conference on Early Childhood Education in 1996. She has presented in a seminar sponsored by the Department of Early Childhood Education at the University of Athens, Greece, and took part in a literacy delegation to New Zealand and Australia in the summer of 2000.

Wilford is featured in the Learning Child Series videos which were produced for public television under the guidance of experts from the Child Development Institute at Sarah Lawrence College. The Learning Child Series, designed to assist parents and educators in guiding children to become motivated and thoughtful learners, is about nurturing the whole child, recognizing that each child is unique and that every child's needs are different.

Wilford received an Outstanding Service Award from Westchester Community College in 1999. In 2009, she received a Champions for Children Leader of the Year Award, presented by the New York State Association for the Education of Young Children.


Between 1953 and their 1972 divorce she was married to the classical pianist Anthony di Bonaventura and had five children with him. In 1973 she married Ronald A. Wilford.[1]


  1. ^ Roosevelt Genealogy; Retrieved 11 October 2013

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