The Developmental Designs approach brings everyday strategies for relationship building, social skill-building, safe community, cultural responsiveness, and intrinsic motivation to community circles, content area classes, and across the school, throughout the day.

Developmental Designs for Elementary School is a powerful collection of research-based teaching strategies and practices:

  • Learn strategies to build community, model expectations, and meet student needs of Safety, Competence, Autonomy, Relationship, and Fun
  • Engage more student voice through Empowering Language, Community Circles, the Social Contract, and Structured Interactive Formats
  • Explore additional strategies for active and inclusive learning maximizing academic and social growth including Recess, Play, and Choice
  • Cultivate Self-regulation and Responsible Independence in children
  • Practice Pathways to Self-Control and Reflection to ensure Equitable Discipline
  • Increase the role of Family Engagement in student learning
  • Maximize the collective intelligence and collaborative potential of the Adult Community
  • Challenge and reflect with daily adult Equitable Conversations
  • Build cultural understanding, reduce bias and encourage a strong inclusive classroom community

” Developmental Designs has made me more intentional in my practices with students and families to make sure students and families feel valued and are able to engage with our learning environment optimally.”

– Elementary-level teacher


To create an equitable foundation for learning, certain conditions and experiences are necessary to meet the basic needs of children for safety, competence, autonomy, relationship, and fun.

When we base our practice on meeting these needs, we base our practice in equity. To meet these needs we provide educators practices to strengthen and maintain classrooms and schools where equity is a lived reality, creating a Zone of Proximal Development for ALL Learners.