Lower School Faculty Dive Deeper into the Responsive Classroom Model

Written by: Ms. Jamie McKim

Imagine being part of a classroom where how you learn is just as important as what you learn. Where actually “doing” the learning is part of your everyday experience. Well, I do not have to imagine this, as our students live this everyday.

This year, I have the honor and the privilege to not only serve in the York Country Day community as the fourth grade teacher, but also as the Assistant Head of Lower School. One of my endeavors this year, is to immerse the Lower School faculty with teaching skills and strategies of a Responsive Classroom.

One daily part of the Responsive Classroom approach is the morning meeting. Our lower school students enjoy greeting their friends each morning in creative ways, while practicing strong communication skills such as making eye contact. Our morning meetings help us build a successful social community by participating in an activity together daily, where students provide encouragement to others. The meeting then ends with a message planning out the agenda for the day, which promotes excellent time management awareness.

A Responsive Classroom is a classroom that promotes academic, social, and emotional growth in all students. The philosophy is focused on understanding that how a student learns, is just as important as what they learn. At York Country Day School, we concentrate on teaching children from a whole child perspective. Engaging academics, providing a positive community, establishing effective management, and developing awareness are the four domains in which Responsive Classroom focuses. Utilizing a STEAM curriculum, we place great emphasis on these domains everyday.

Our Robotics program allows students to explore and build partnerships with their classmates by hypothesizing different ways to make their robots work. By planning and planting terrariums and creating water -controlled distribution to their terrarium, students learn to effectively manage their time. During their hands on explorations, students develop self-awareness to stay on task during independent studies.

All of this sounds like a dream, and I do pinch myself often. I am so excited to continue to educate and praise our school community in the Responsive Classroom approach. We are well on our way to not just being a Responsive Classroom, but moreover, a Responsive School.