The purpose behind this website is to “create caring classrooms for children.” My hope is that highlighting practices which place caring at the heart of teaching and learning will help us grow our repertoire as caring educators. The Responsive Classroom approach undoubtedly qualifies as a caring approach.
As a teacher, trainer, consultant, and professor, I’ve had the honor of visiting hundreds of classrooms. In schools where teachers are implementing the Responsive Classroom, there is a melody I hear the moment I enter the building. The adults in the school engage with students in a positive and warm manner. Students have choice, responsibility, and are learning the tools they need to become independent thinkers and collaborative problem solvers.
The core principal behind the Responsive Classroom is that “Every child deserves a warm, safe, and joyful learning environment. A place that supports them to take risks, to learn, and reach their full potential.” At the center of the approach lies the powerful belief that “the social curriculum is every bit important as the academic curriculum.”
Think about how that seemingly simple statement serves as a transformative philosophy for a teacher, a classroom, or a school… how powerful it is to believe that what happens socially is not only important, but directly impacts what happens academically. Children are cared for, listened to, and viewed as critical partners in creating a pro-social classroom community.
To construct such a thoughtful place, the Responsive Classroom offers teachers and administrators tools and strategies for creating warm and engaging classroom communities. These are the folks behind wonderful instructional practices like Morning Meeting, co-constructed rule creation, guided discovery and more.
The combination of instructional practices, the intentionality of teaching, and the deeply held respect for the social climate in schools yields positive results for social development, behavior, and academics. But on a day to day basis, those positive outcomes aren’t what’s most impressive. Day to day, what I find most striking when I visit educators who craft their teaching and learning around Responsive Classroom practices, is that the melody of the building carries a joyful tune.
If you have questions about Responsive Classroom or have your own experience to share with the community, please comment below!