- The social and emotional curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.
- How children learn is as important as what they learn.
- Great cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
- To be successful academically and socially, children need to learn a set of social and emotional skills: cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.
- 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 the adult community.
How is it taught?
Responsive classroom skills are taught through many modalities.
Morning Meeting: Every morning, we gather in a circle for Morning Meeting. Here we greet each other, play games, go and over our schedule, all of which emphasizes the importance of our community.
Logical Consequences: Our classroom rules are decided together, and we all promise to follow them. When some one has a hard time following a rule, there is a logical consequence. Logical consequences vary quite a bit. Usually they fall in 2 categories: loss of privilege, or "break it/fix it." For example, if a child drew on the tables with markers, s/he would not be being responsible. The child would need to clean to table, or would not be able to use markers the next day. An important part of logical consequences is giving children many chances to try again. Loss of privileges only lasts for 1 day, so they can try to do the right thing next time.
Take a Break: One consequence that is an RC practice, is called Take a Break. This is an area in our classroom where children go to reset, and gain self control back, when they get too silly, or are not following a rule. Children stay in Take a Break for about 1-2 minutes and are taught to take deep breaths to calm down. Take a Break is not taught as a punishment, it is more like a reset button when things get out of hand.
Interactive Modeling: Children are always watching adults! I teach many skills and expected behaviors by modeling them for the children, and having children practice.
Reinforce: Throughout the day, I help children to keep up their great behavior/skills, by positively reinforcing what they are doing. For example, "__________, you were being kind to ____ when you shared your blocks with him/her."
Remind: When children are off track, I remind them in a positive tone what is expected. For example, if a child is running I would say, " _______, walking feet please."
Redirect: Occasionally I stop a child when their behavior dangerous or unexpected. For example, if a child was angry and began to throw an object, I would say " ____, stop."