Conscious Kids Preschool & Kindergarten


The Essential Seven R’s of our Classroom Community

By: Tosh D. Montee

The beginning of the school year sets the tone for the rest of our year together, and a time I place alot of attention on developing a positive classroom community. To create a safe, inviting space that inspires exploration, risk and growth, I work with the kids to establish and practice the seven R’s: roles, rules, rights, responsibilities, respect, rhythm, and rapport. Developing a classroom culture that rests in the 7 R’s supports healthy social-emotional development and school readiness in young children.


Rules provide boundaries and clear expectations for individual exploration and group cooperation. Clearly outlining what the rules are and why they have been created helps the whole classroom community to operate with shared agreements and expectations. Establishing clear and consistent rules helps me to hold boundaries with compassion and remain mindful during the more stressful times of boundary testing. Throughout the year some rules become negotiable and evolve with the needs of the classroom, while others are non-negotiable and remain in place. In the spirit of helping each child build connection with their own internal guidance, I find the need for rules is kept to a minimum when children are supported to explore a variety of roles in the classroom. As children try various roles in the classroom they practice contextual consideration, acting with one set of rights and responsibilities in one role and a different set in another role.


Roles communicate areas of hierarchy, equality, and expectation in the classroom community. Although I am the primary keeper of community rules, the children and I all practice various roles with differing levels of equality, hierarchy and expectation throughout our day. In a single day each of us can practice the role of group leader, group member, teacher, learner, observer and participant. The practice of moving from role to role while maintaining rules and boundaries with clarity and compassion models dynamic and complex social engagement skills for children. The ability to move between roles quickly, cleanly, and flexibly is a part of social-emotional health, and is a skill set nurtured in young children through understanding for rights and responsibilities.

Rights and Responsibilities

In our classroom, every right come with responsibility and is earned, maintained and lost in conjunction with responsibility. Responsibility comes with every right and is increased, maintained, and decreased in conjunction with rights. As a teacher, I find the practice of rights and responsibilities with children is rich with opportunity to consider the individual context of situations while holding a big picture view, and provide structure while remaining flexible. Helping children understand and practice rights and responsibilities supports them to set roots in right relationship with their community. Together, the successful practice of roles, rules, rights and responsibilities helps to establish harmony in the rhythms of the community.


Rhythm is everywhere in the classroom community, expressed in the daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly activities. Establishing predictable rhythms for the community helps the children to relax. With safety established as a primary and predictable state within the classroom, there is more exploration, creativity, spontaneity, laughter, and joy expressed by the community. The celebrations of life become a part of each community member’s shared lived experience in the classroom, and can be referenced as a resource when facing stress and novelty. The experience of being in rhythm, falling out of rhythm, and coming back into rhythm with others in the classroom helps to build trust and respect in our relationships.


At the outset I approach each child with respect. I find that acknowledgment and understanding for the implicit journey of young children helps build a quality of trust and respect between us that allows me access to deeper aspects of their experience and development. Mutual respect is also earned through the shared experience of authenticity, challenge, growth and joy in our time together. Mutual respect is an essential element of building positive rapport in the classroom community.


All seven R’s are interdependent, with rapport being the synergetic relationship of the above six R’s. Rapport in the classroom community happens as each of us practice the seven R’s, building attunement, sensitivity, availability, curiosity, love and responsiveness in our relationships with each other.


The Caines’ Twelve Brain-Mind Learning Principles and Corresponding Capacities

By: Renate N. Caine, Ph.D. and Geoffrey Caine, LL.M.

Principle #1: All learning engages the physiology.
Capacity #1: All students have the capacity to comprehend more effectively when involved in experiences that naturally call on the use of their senses and their bodies.

Principle #2: The brain/mind is social.
Capacity #2: All students have the capacity to comprehend more effectively when their needs for social interactions and relationship are engaged and honored.

Principle #3: The search for meaning is innate.
Capacity #3: All students have the capacity to comprehend more effectively when their interests, purposes and ideas are engaged and honored.

Principle #4: The search for meaning occurs through patterning.
Capacity #4: All students have substantial unused capacities to perceive and create patterns and to link those new patterns to what they already understand.

Principle #5: Emotions are critical to patterning.
Capacity #5: All students can comprehend more effectively when appropriate emotions are elicited before, during, and after their experiences with a text.

Principle #6: The brain/mind processes parts and wholes simultaneously.
Capacity #6: All students can comprehend more effectively when details (specific facts and information) are embedded in wholes that they understand such as a real life event, a meaningful story, or a project that they create or witness.

Principle #7: Learning involves both focused attention and peripheral perception.
Capacity #7: All students can comprehend more effectively when their attention is deepened and multiple layers of the context are used to support learning.

Principle #8: Learning is both conscious and unconscious.
Capacity #8: All students can comprehend more effectively when given time to reflect on and process those experiences about which they live and read.

Principle #9: There are at least two approaches to memory.
Capacity #9: All students can comprehend more effectively when immersed in experiences that engage multiple ways to remember.

Principle #10: Learning is developmental.
Capacity #10: All students can comprehend more effectively if individual differences in maturation, development, and prior learning are taken into consideration.

Principle #11: Complex learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threat associated with helplessness and/or fatigue.
Capacity #11: All students can comprehend more effectively in a supportive, empowering, and challenging environment.

Principle #12: Each brain is uniquely organized.
Capacity #12: All students can comprehend more effectively when their unique, individual talents, abilities, and capacities are engaged.

Childhood Relationships Children Exploring Children Reading Children Exploring Boys On Rock Drawing

Santa Barbara Preschool