Responsive Classroom Approach


We are a community of learners. As a whole faculty and staff we regularly spend time discussing our overall school culture.

What gives a school its culture? We do. Every person who interacts and reacts with this campus and the people on it help create its culture. Our beliefs, perceptions, relationships, attitudes, teacher language, collaboration, written and unwritten rules; our everyday interactions help shape and influence every aspect of how our school functions.

As a faculty we talk about behavior policies, school meetings, transitions, as well as other various school routines, such as those in our Dining Hall. At the core of these discussions is Responsive Classroom.

What Is The Responsive Classroom Approach?

Responsive Classroom is a research-based, widely used approach to education that is associated with greater teacher effectiveness, higher student achievement, and improved school climate. The Responsive Classroom approach is proven to create a safe learning environment for every child.

Parts of Responsive Classroom have been integral to our school culture at The Country School; a perfect example is our five-year rotation of CARES (Cooperation, Assertion, Respect and Responsibility, EMPATHY, and Self-control).

As a New Haven County school that features the responsive classroom approach from PreSchool and the Early Childhood Center through Lower School, Intermediate, and Middle School grades, teachers weave Responsive Classroom practices into their daily experiences:

  • Morning Meeting
  • Interactive Modeling
  • Student-Generated Classroom Guidelines/Rules
  • Logical Consequences
  • Classroom Organization
  • Collaborative Problem Solving
  • Energizers/Brain Breaks
  • Goal Setting/“Hopes and Dreams”
  • Take a Break/Mindfulness Space/Yoga
  • Shared language (CARES)
  • Cooperative Games and Learning Experiences
  • Guided Discovery
  • Role Play
  • Trust Activities
  • Weekly Open Circle

Here are the Seven Guiding Principles behind Responsive Classroom:

  1. Learning social skills is as important as academic learning.
  2. How children learn is as important as what they learn: Process and content go hand in hand.
  3. Children gain knowledge most effectively through social interaction.
  4. It is important to know the children we teach as well as the content we teach.
  5. There are certain skills that are needed in order to be successful academically and socially: CARES (cooperation, assertion, responsibility (and respect), empathy, and self-control).
  6. Knowing the parents of the children we work with is as important as knowing the children themselves.
  7. The way children learn is as important as what they learn.
  8. How adults work together is as important as how skillful each individual teacher is: Lasting change begins with the adult community.

Interested in learning more? Visit www.responsiveclassroom.org.