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What's the connection between Northeast Foundation for Children (NEFC) and the Responsive Classroom approach?
Northeast Foundation for Children (NEFC) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to create safe, challenging, and joyful elementary schools. NEFC does this by developing the Responsive Classroom approach, a way of teaching that emphasizes social, emotional, and academic growth in a strong and safe school community. NEFC offers workshops, on-site consulting, books, videos, and other resources for educators who want to learn to use the Responsive Classroom approach.
NEFC was founded in 1981 by a group of public school educators who wanted to share the practical strategies they’d developed for teaching social and academic skills together. They opened a laboratory school in Greenfield, Massachusetts, called Greenfield Center School. Soon after, NEFC began publishing books and offering workshops about the practices that were being used at the school. In the early 1990s, NEFC secured its first major contract to work with public school teachers in Washington, DC. The term Responsive Classroom was coined in conjunction with that work.
The Responsive Classroom is a general approach to teaching, rather than a program designed to address a specific school issue. It is based on the premise that children learn best when they have both academic and social-emotional skills. The Responsive Classroom approach consists of a set of practices that build academic and social-emotional competencies and that can be used along with many other programs. These classroom practices are the heart of the Responsive Classroom approach:
The Responsive Classroom approach is not based on the work of one particular theorist. It draws on the work of many great teachers and educators, articulating a collection of sound and tested classroom practices in a way that is accessible and practical for today's teachers. It also incorporates research and thinking from child development and constructivist educators (such as Piaget, Gesell, Montessori, Dewey, Erikson, and Vygotsky).
Since 1981, thousands of classroom teachers and hundreds of schools and school districts have begun using the Responsive Classroom approach. These schools are in urban, suburban, and rural settings nationwide. Some facts and figures:
About 30 people make up our in-house staff, plus over 100 consulting teachers who give workshops and provide coaching at schools.
Several research studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of the Responsive Classroom approach. Most recently, researchers at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education released results from a quasi-experimental longitudinal study funded by the DuBarry Foundation. The study compared children at three schools using the Responsive Classroom approach with those at three control schools. This research yielded six key findings about children and teachers at schools using the Responsive Classroom approach:
On the strength of these findings, in 2007, the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences and the National Science Foundation awarded $2.9 million to Dr. Rimm-Kaufman and her team for an expanded three-year follow-up study. Read more about this and other research on the Responsive Classroom approach.
The core Responsive Classroom practices and our trainings are intended for elementary educators. Some of our publications are useful to K-8 teachers.
For preschool, we recommend the organization HighScope in Ypsilanti, Michigan. HighScope’s mission and philosophy are similar to those of the Responsive Classroom approach.
For middle school, we recommend Origins, the Midwest Regional Center for the Responsive Classroom approach, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Origins' Developmental Designs for Middle School program is based on many of the same principles and practices as the Responsive Classroom approach.
For high school, we recommend looking at the resources available through Educators for Social Responsibility, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
You can also learn about how Responsive Classroom practices are being used in a wide variety of elementary classrooms and schools by reading the Responsive Classroom newsletter. This quarterly publication features articles by and for educators interested in the approach.
Responsive Classroom I (RCI) is our entry-level offering. Participants in RCI learn about five of the fundamental practices and how to implement them in their own classrooms. We offer RCI as a week-long institute each summer in many locations, and as an on-site professional development opportunity that can be held during the school year or over the summer.
Books focused on core practices of the Responsive Classroom approach include: The Morning Meeting Book, The First Six Weeks of School, The Power of Our Words, Classroom Spaces That Work, Rules in School, Learning Through Academic Choice, and Parents & Teachers Working Together. Teaching Children to Care and Yardsticks: Children in the Classroom Ages 4–14 are also excellent resources.
How can I learn about arranging on-site professional development services for a school or school district?
Begin by checking out the information about on-site services on this website. For more information, contact Allison Henry, Manager of School Services Contracts, by calling 800-360-6332, ext. 143 or emailing email@example.com.
Our advertised week-long summer institutes are held at "host site" schools we select according to location, space, and equipment needs, as well as other factors. Each fall we finalize agreements with the schools that will be host sites for the following summer.
At minimum, host sites must be air conditioned and must include a space large enough for 150 adult participants to gather, plus the use of twelve classrooms. Host schools receive tuition credits for five participants, who, in addition to attending the institute, serve as on-site helpers during the week. The host site also has the option of providing catering for the week.
To learn more about hosting an advertised week-long institute, download and review our Host Site Packet [6-page PDF] or contact Laura Schlaikjer by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling her at 800-360-6332, ext. 152.
I have an idea for an article or book that NEFC might want to publish. How should I tell you about it?
Richard Henning, Director of Marketing, is the contact person for media representatives. He can be reached at email@example.com or 800-360-6332, ext. 111.