The Classroom-Ecosystem

A Classroom-Ecosystem is a total learning environment—one in which all the key components work together to help children develop critical thinking skills and a deep understanding of curricular concepts. Think of a natural ecosystem such as a garden, where the key components that mutually influence each other are light, water, soil and plants. In a Classroom-Ecosystem, the key interdependent Components are:

  • Planning
  • Classroom Setup
  • Classroom Culture
  • Student Experience in Learning
  • Student Representations of Their Understanding

Our Philosophy

Encouraging children’s natural abilities in science and preparing them to be innovative thinkers requires a shift in how we view the classroom learning environment and how we view children as learners. This shift requires:

  • seeing the child as capable and rich in potential
  • seeing oneself as a teacher-researcher, capable of fostering children’s critical thinking
  • seeing the student not as a passive learner, but one who constructs his or her own meaning
  • working alongside children, with mutual respect and as active participants in the learning process
  • making it safe for children to ask for help and get it, and to say what they think, without embarrassment
  • organizing materials so that children have readily available what they need to do their work
  • adapting and changing the classroom physical environment throughout the year, according to the needs and ideas of the children
  • planning for instruction by identifying learning goals and making room for the teachable moment, rather than following a script
  • presenting children with information through many different kinds of experiences that involve use of all the senses
  • assessing children’s knowledge of concepts not only through testing, but by offering them a variety of ways to demonstrate their understanding that in the process also deepen their knowledge

This is the basis for the Classroom-Ecosystem approach to teaching and learning science.