There is no big desk at Dancing Moose and for an important reason: teacher’s move with and focus on children, not the other way around. Sitting together, moving together, learning together, and sharing with one another is the foundation of a community. The Dancing Moose classroom is prepared with an environment that fosters common experiences and shared understandings. A teacher is a more knowledgeable guide, demonstrating and sharing information, but children lead themselves through curricular tasks. They have an opportunity to explore activities, express new understandings, and satisfy their curiosity without looking constantly to the teacher for approval. These are the qualities that support and sustain growth, success, and independence throughout their lives.
Caring about each other is an essential ingredient of a classroom community. When children respect each other they demonstrate care; when teachers value each child, they support children’s growth and desire to reach their potential. Children who know that they can trust their teachers to be kind and understanding are more likely to take risks in thinking critically and exploring creatively.
Hence, there is no big desk at Dancing Moose, but there are actively engaged children and teachers who are invested in the common goals of stretching their thinking and understanding. Children in our small classes know each other and know their teachers; they are part of a community, and the community of invested learners will continue to be part of them.