ERIC Number: ED443584
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000
The Classroom as Community: Ideas from an Early Childhood Teacher. Occasional Paper No. 3.
Stone, Jeannette G.
This paper responds to the questions: "How do we shape classroom life to reflect a spirit of social justice and equality, of tolerance and respect?" It presents a philosophy and a set of practices by which preschool classrooms may become communities that work for everyone. The paper begins with an observation of a preschool classroom and notes that the process of developing a classroom of individualistic children into a community whose members regard each other with growing respect, trust, and interest depends on the teacher or leader. The paper maintains that teachers build a community on four components of leadership: (1) acceptance of the leadership role; (2) knowledge of child development; (3) knowledge of early childhood education; and (4) a commitment to teaching by modeling. Each of these leadership components is examined in turn, focusing on the responsibility of the preschool teacher or administrator and providing suggestions for ways each component of leadership can be implemented in the early childhood classroom to teach values of compassion and responsibility. The paper notes that for some children, safety and order take priority over sowing seeds of compassion and responsibility and makes suggestions for teaching children with behavior problems. The paper concludes that although leadership demands a great deal from good teachers, administrators, and other staff, the efforts to achieve excellence in teaching are worthwhile. (KB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Sarah Lawrence Coll., Bronxville, NY. Child Development Inst.