Responsive Classroom FAQ

What is Responsive Classroom and why are we implementing this approach at Saint Clement School?

Responsive Classroom is a research based approach which reflects the anchors of Saint Clement School; Pray, Serve, Give, Learn, Belong. We seek to educate the WHOLE child. The Responsive Classroom Approach merges social/emotional and academic learning. Children learn best when they are engaged socially. Children are successful when they feel that they belong, contribute and have fun.

The Responsive Classroom Approach to teaching and learning fosters safe,challenging and joyful learning environments. The Responsive Classroom approach helps educators integrate three domains: Engaging Academics, Effective Management and Positive Community - Northeast Foundation For Children, 2013

Click here to read more about Responsive Classroom

Questions Frequently Asked At The Beginning of the School Year


Why is my child practicing making a circle with chairs?


Students in Pre-School through Fifth Grade hold their Morning Meeting or Circle of Power and Respect seated on a carpet spot. Middle School Students bring their chairs to the circle and “perfect” the procedure in order to begin their day calmly and efficiently. Students use problem solving and collaboration to orchestrate this operation as a group. Each day begins with a greeting, share, activity and written message. The circle provides students and teachers the opportunity to connect, build community, equalize their morning rush and set the tone for the day’s collaborative learning.


Why are children sitting at assigned tables at lunch?

At the start of the year when routines are being established, teachers may assign table numbers in certain grade levels. Assigned tables free the students from the stress of choosing a table or finding a space where they feel welcome. This allows students to practice carrying their hot lunch, cleaning up their spot and listening for group signals. If you have ever volunteered in the cafeteria, you understand what it looks and sounds like to have 100 children in the room at the same time. Our goal is to create routines that foster a calm, peaceful lunch where children can refuel for the afternoon.


Why does my child have “Circle Time” in Middle School and isn’t this taking time away from academics?

Though we think of circle time as an early childhood activity, studies show that middle level children need structures that support healthy communication and relationship building. “Community and trust don’t just occur because we all come to school and everyone is following the schedule.” The Circle of Power and Respect (CPR) helps create a space where students can meet face to face and build the trust and relationships necessary to their learning. Middle School Students experience a range of emotions daily and they need to know that they are not alone. CPR sends them into their day feeling empowered, respected and ready to learn. Teachers customize Advisory activities that integrate subject area content while fulfilling the human needs for belonging, significance and fun.


Click here to read more about The Developmental Designs Approach, our Middle School counterpart to Responsive Classroom.