• The Responsive Classroom

    Guiding Principles


    • The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.


    • How children learn is as important as what they learn; process and content go hand in hand.


    • The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.


    • There is a specific set of social skills that children need to learn and practice in order to be successful academically and socially: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control (CARES).


    • Knowing the children we teach – individually, culturally, and developmentally – is as important as knowing the content we teach.


    • Knowing the families of the children we teach is as important as knowing the children we teach.


    • How we, the adults at school, work together is as important as our individual competence: lasting change begins with adult community.


    Teaching Practices


    • Morning Meeting: A daily routine that builds community, creates a positive climate for learning, and reinforces academic and social skills.


    • Rules and Logical Consequences: A clear and consistent approach to discipline that fosters responsibility and self-control.


    • Classroom Organization: Strategies for arranging materials, furniture, and displays to encourage independence, promote caring, and maximize learning.


    • Guided Discovery: A format for introducing materials that encourages inquiry, heightens interest, and teaches care of the school environment.


    • Academic Choice: An approach to giving children choices in their learning that helps them become invested, self-motivated learners.


    • Reaching Out to Parents/Guardians: Ideas for involving parents or guardians as true partners in their children’s education.