Child-Centered Classroom

Child-centered learning is a philosophy not a particular methodology, which means approaches for learning can appear differently in each classroom. In an optimal setting the child-centered teacher understands that each child possesses their own unique social, physical, and cognitive dimensions and teaches select methods to support each child’s particular learning style.

Our SUNKISSED FAMILIES contributors explore the wonderful learning styles of children and takes you on an exploration to help you understand the unique qualities of the young scientist & philosopher in your life in our series The Child-Centered Classroom.


Jeannine Marie Lenehan,

Founder & Principal

SUNKISSED FAMILIES and the Center for Social & Emotional Health



Honoring the Child’s Perspective in Adult-Child Interactions:
Power struggles & teachable moments

Colin E. Johnson

It’s a familiar situation. It’s time to get dressed, which means it’s time to finish playing, lay the last blocks, draw the last lines, sip the last drops of invisible cocoa. If you spend time with children, you know it can be a struggle. One particular instance comes to mind as told to me by a parent in my class. In this case, her toddler complied at first, as shirts and pants and socks were thrust upon him. [Read More]


Building Relationships That Foster Self-control, Altruism, and Compliance

Colin E. Johnson

Lily is almost three, and she just began ballet class. Not surprisingly, in the classroom, I see that she is dancing on a small patio, stretching her hands above her head and lifting her leg behind her in a clumsy, intensely thoughtful manner. I step in and get down to her level, smiling as she eyes my movements. She seems to be finished. So I clap lightly, saying with a smile: “You’re practicing your ballet.” In return, I expect a grin, a light in her eye, or an expression of pride. [Read More]


Trusting in Children

Colin E. Johnson

Defining childhood, as a concept can be a challenging task: there is a world of different characteristics, theoretical descriptions, and individual differences that make understanding children a never-ending effort. Each time you believe you’ve captured the essence of what they are about, a new piece of information surfaces that can enhance your understanding. I teach preschoolers and I teach adults about preschoolers, and yet I continue to discover new things about children as individuals and in their group settings. Thankfully, I have found a few common threads that lie among good theories and best practices [Read More]




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