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The Responsive Classroom at Parker

Robert C. Parker School embraces the Responsive Classroom® approach, which was developed by the Northeast Foundation for Children, Inc. to foster safe, challenging, and joyful classrooms. Since its inception in 1981, thousands of classroom teachers in hundreds of schools have used this innovative approach to help create learning environments where children thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

Our skilled teachers let the Responsive Classroom philosophy guide not only their instruction of students, but also their interactions with children and their parents/guardians, and their overall approach as educators.

Basic Principles

The Responsive Classroom approach is formed by seven basic principles:

  • Social learning: Social learning is as important as academic learning.
  • Process: How children learn is as important as what they learn.
  • Social interaction: The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
  • C.A.R.E.S.: In order to achieve academic and social success, children must learn cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.
  • Teacher-student relationships: Teachers’ knowledge of the children they teach – individually, culturally, and developmentally – is as important as their knowledge of content.
  • Teacher-family relationships: Teachers’ partnerships with parents/guardians are essential to a student’s education.
  • Faculty and staff relationships: How a school’s adults work with each other is as important as individual competence, and lasting change begins with the adult community.

Teaching Techniques

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Classroom Organization: Strategies for arranging materials, furniture, and displays to encourage independence, promote caring, and maximize learning.
  • Working with Families: Ideas for involving families as true partners in their children’s education.

Parker’s Behavior Plan

In 2004, Parker teachers worked with Ruth Charney, co-founder of the Northeast Foundation for Children and author of Teaching Children to Care, to develop a school-wide behavior code that helps children develop self-control. “Pathways to Self-Control” is printed in our Community Book.

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