October 25, 2018

Dear Harbor Families,

Last week, I had the pleasure of jumping into the teacher role again. I had nine students, but they weren’t children. They were Harbor parents, who participated in my morning session on Responsive Classroom and Social Emotional Learning. We spent the first part of our time together moving through the parts of a morning meeting, just as the kids do every day in their classrooms. We sat in a circle (albeit in chairs) and took turns greeting one another with eye contact and a clear, loud voice. We spent time sharing something happy or exciting in our lives and responding to one another with comments or questions. We participated in a group activity to build our “class community”. Finally, we read the morning messagetogether, reinforcing our reading and math skills while also learning about the routined steps of a morning meeting (greeting, sharing, activity, message). To the parents that were there, it may have felt a little funny to interact in this way - but we laughed, got to know each other better, and experienced the ways our children practice social skills on a daily basis.

Responsive Classroom is a way of teaching that emphasizes social emotional learning, community building, and student voice in learning. There are several distinct components that you will see in schools that follow the responsive classroom approach, including morning meetings, positive teacher language, and logical consequences - to name a few. At Harbor, many of our teachers have undergone extensive training in this approach, which has a big part to play in what makes our school and classroom environments so child-friendly and welcoming. To learn more about Responsive Classroom, feel free to take a peek at my presentation slides from last week’s parent session, or check out their website.

You may be thinking, “Okay, it’s good to know that the teachers really have it down when it comes to motivating my child to be a responsible community member, but how can I apply these ideas at home?” Glad you asked, because we’ve got an evening of thoughtful, responsive parenting planned for you! Developmental specialist and licensed clinical social worker Claire Lerner will be joining us at Harbor on the evening of November 14 to discuss “Parenting Without Power Struggles”. Mark your calendar for 7 PM that Wednesday evening; I promise you that it will be well worth your time! The evening is open to the public so feel free to bring non-Harbor friends.

Warm regards,

Leah Musico

Head of School

The Harbor School

Harbor School