For the past forty years, I’ve worked with and for pre-school through eighth grade children and their parents as a classroom teacher, principal, teacher educator, consultant, writer, and advocate.
After receiving an MSW from Howard University, I studied at the Gesell Institute of Human Development. Early in my career, I made developmentally based teaching the center of my educational practice. My core belief: Knowing what children at each age are developmentally capable of doing physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively enables respectful, successful teaching of all children.
In 1981, I co-founded the Northeast Foundation for Children (NEFC), a nonprofit educational organization that sponsors this blog. I helped develop the Responsive Classroom approach, a way of teaching elementary school children that emphasizes social, emotional, and academic growth in strong and safe school communities.
Currently, I am an Origins Fellow and a facilitator for the Center for Courage and Renewal Northeast, which offers reflective retreat series and experiences for teachers and school leaders based on the work of Parker J. Palmer, especially his bestselling book The Courage to Teach. I also offer workshops and presentations on child development, school discipline, and the adult community of school.
I’ve written several books and many articles on developmentally appropriate teaching. My latest book is Responsive School Discipline: Essentials for Elementary School Leaders (with co-author, Babs Freeman-Loftis).
I’m also the author of Yardsticks: Children in the Classroom Ages 4-14, reissued by NEFC in August 2007 as an expanded and revised third edition. Yardsticks has been translated into Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese. Yardsticks has become a favorite guidebook for both teachers and parents who want to understand how best to help children learn and grow.