1: The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum. In early childhood classrooms, the focus is on the following skills:
  • understanding classroom routines and behavior expectations
  • helping children learn and use each other's names
  • teaching skills of problem solving and cooperation
  • helping children to use and care for materials independently
  • supporting children's language for interaction and reflection
2: How children learn is as important as what they learn: Process and content go hand in hand.
The approach works to balance what teachers want children to learn with what they observe about their current interests, strengths, and knowledge.
3: The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction. It is 1 through language that our learning becomes accessible to ourselves and one another. So, children are invited throughout the day to share their thinking and planning with teachers and with others.
4: There is a specific set of social skills that children need to learn in order ? to be successful academically and socially: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control. The focus is on building the following ' skills, which allow children to develop a positive sense of significance and ' belonging in their world:
  • how to work and play together peaceably
  • how to communicate what you think and need
  • how to take care of yourself, your friends, and your environment
  • how to listen with openness and compassion to others
  • how to choose an effective course of action and make it happen
5: Knowing the children we teach-individually, culturally, and developmentally-is as important as knowing the content we teach.
It is important to take time to carefully observe and listen to children, especially during the first few weeks of school. The approach recommends I that teachers take some time in every school day to actively observe students and record their observations.
6: Knowing the families of the children we teach, and encouraging their participation, is as important as knowing the children we teach.
If teachers really want to know their students, they must know and value their families. So, taking time to initiate strong positive relationships with the families of the children by visiting them at home and inviting them into the life of the classroom is strongly encouraged.
7: How we, the adults at school, work together is as important as our individual competence. To thrive at school, young children must sense that the adults in their world can work well together to keep them safe and to help them grow and learn. At all times, teachers must strive to model for children respectful social interactions.
For more information on the Responsive Classroom approach, log on to www.responsiveclassroom.org.