Yeshiva Har Torah

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Responsive Classroom

Many of our teachers and administrators are certified in Responsive Classroom and we use Responsive Classroom techniques school-wide.


Responsive Classroom is a nationally acclaimed, evidence-based approach to elementary school teaching, developed by classroom teachers to foster both social and academic competencies.  You can find the core principles and practices described HERE. Social skills -- self-control, empathy, cooperation, assertion -- are taught directly and indirectly through non-punitive academic strategies, like morning and end-of-day meetings, logical consequences, classroom set-ups that encourage academic exploration, and organized play.  Guided discovery, offering academic choice to encourage exploring personal interests, and family communication are also prioritized.  This focus on social growth is critical, with research showing that the best predictor of a child's academic success in eighth grade was her or his social skills in third grade.


As a value, we prefer not to use rewards and punishments to control students’ behavior but rather encourage them to evolve with strong character and sense of self.  This type of learning takes more time, but pays off in the long run by cultivating intrinsic motivation and helping students learn how to make values-based decisions.


A consultant from the Center for Responsive Schools recently spent a day observing and evaluating our progress in adopting Responsive Classroom strategies. She noted that the implementation of Responsive Classroom practices and philosophy was evident in the school “as they incorporate social and emotional learning with academic skills within a religious setting.”


The consultant was also taken with the warmth of YHT.  “I left the school feeling the excitement and enthusiasm that the teachers have for the students they teach.  The school exemplifies all that is good in education -- caring teachers that strive to provide a high quality education for all students.  They have an added bonus -- leadership that shares the vision for success for all."