Responsive Classroom is a research-based approach to education that is associated with greater teacher effectiveness, higher student achievement, and improved school climate. It has been recognized by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) as one of the most well-designed, evidence-based social and emotional learning programs. Center for Responsive Schools (CRS) offers Responsive Classroom on-site consulting services to schools and districts; workshops for educators in locations around the country; and numerous books, videos, and other resources for teachers and administrators.
Often in academic settings the social/emotional development of children is an afterthought. However, “Social and Emotional Learning (S.E.L.), sometimes called character education, embraces not just the golden rule but the idea that everyone experiences a range of positive and negative feelings. It also gives children the tools to slow down and think when facing conflicts, and teaches them to foster empathy and show kindness introducing the concept of shared responsibility for a group’s well-being.” This statement, written by New York Times writer Julie Scelfo in her recent piece Teaching Peace in Elementary School, embodies what S.E.L. is all about.
To this end, the faculty at Summit School are continuously and consistently looking for ways to incorporate S.E.L. as part of our regular school day. Students begin each day in a morning meeting during which they connect with one another and their teachers. During this community time, they greet one another, share, reflect, plan ahead, and often times play together. This commitment to the community continues throughout the day. Morning Meeting and many other tools are rooted in Responsive Classroom
. Using the Responsive Classroom approach to build community and emphasize one’s role in the group allows teachers to use moments throughout the school day to develop and practice skills such as self-awareness, self-control, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.