In Minnetonka Schools, we believe that children learn best when they have both academic and social-emotional skills. As a result, our District has implemented the principles of Responsive Classroom® in each elementary school. This approach to elementary teaching emphasizes social, emotional and academic growth in a strong and safe school community. Backed by evidence from independent research, the Responsive Classroom approach consists of classroom and school-wide practices and has seven guiding principles:
- How children learn is as important as what they learn; process and content go hand in hand.
- The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.
- The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
- To be successful academically and socially, children need a set of social skills: 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 working with them as partners is essential to children’s education.
- How the adults at school work together is as important as their individual competence: Lasting change begins with the adult community.
Nationwide, educators using Responsive Classroom practices report increases in student learning, motivation and responsibility, and decreases in problem behaviors.