At All Saints Episcopal Day School, all students and staff members uphold a culture of personal accountability to the larger community by embracing a commitment to the following community standards:
- Responsibility: We work hard and possess the self discipline needed to conduct ourselves in community.
- Respect: We practice peace and justice and recognize the dignity and worth of every human being.
- Compassion: We reach for understanding, and have the capacity to be sensitive and responsive to the needs and feelings of others.
These values are practiced throughout the school day, and are frequently the topic of discussion in classroom Morning Meeting, Morning Assembly, and Community Time.
Teachers and staff use the philosophy and methodology of the Responsive Classroom as an approach to school discipline. These strategies include frequent opportunities to combine social and academic learning as a way for children to experience joyful learning in a safe, caring, and committed classroom community.
The Responsive Classroom® approach is informed by the work of many great educational theorists as well as the experiences of exemplary classroom teachers. There are seven basic principles underlying this approach:
- The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.
- How children learn is as important as what they learn: process and content go hand in hand.
- The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
- There is a set of social skills children need in order to be successful academically and socially: cooperation, assertion, 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 and inviting their participation is essential to children’s education.
- How the adults at school work together is as important as individual competence: Lasting change begins with the adult community.
The Responsive Classroom® approach includes the following main teaching strategies and elements:
- 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.
- Family Communication Strategies: Ideas for involving families as true partners in their children’s education.
These Guiding Principles and Teaching Practices are reprinted with permission from the Northeast Foundation for Children website: responsiveclassroom.org.