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Sharing Dereh Eretz through the Responsive Classroom Curriculum

November 29, 2016 | Posted in Kindergarten, SJCS

Many of our teachers have been trained in the Responsive Classroom approach for teaching and learning.  The underlying belief of Responsive Classroom is that it is important to know children culturally, individually, and developmentally. Academic learning happens best within a positive context and helps children develop positive social skills.  Through this approach we strive to balance the needs of the individual with the needs of the community.sjcs_2016_-1090-edited

What are the guiding principles of Responsive Classroom?

  • The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum
  • How children learn is as important as what they learn.
  • The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
  • To be successful academically and socially, children need to learn and practice specific social skills.
  • Knowing the children we teach 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.

Every classroom engages in Morning Meeting first thing in the morning. Morning Meeting gives children a consistent time and place every day to explore and practice social skills and to merge social, emotional and intellectual learning.  During Morning Meeting, students gather in a circle for twenty minutes at the beginning of the school day and proceed through four sequential components.

  1. Greeting – Children greet each other by name. The greetings are structured and often include shaking hands, clapping, singing and other activities.
  1. Sharing – Students share some news of interest, usually personal news, and respond to each other, articulating their thoughts, feelings, and question in a positive manner.
  1. Group Activity – The whole class does a short activity together, building class cohesion through active participation.

Mary Grace Lentz, SJCS Kindergarten General Studies / Student Support Specialist