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Early Childhood Program at the
East Harlem Day Care Center

About Morningside Center

Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility was founded in 1982 (as Educators for Social Responsibility Metropolitan Area) by educators concerned about the dangers of nuclear war. Our mission is to help people develop the skills and convictions they need to shape a just, peaceful, and democratic society. Morningside Center's work has been concentrated in two areas:

  • teaching children and adults skills in conflict resolution and intercultural understanding
  • promoting critical thinking, social awareness, and action in the classroom and beyond

Beginning in 1985, Morningside Center developed a collaborative relationship with the New York City public schools, helping integrate conflict resolution and intercultural understanding into the daily life of schools throughout the city.

Through programs such as the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (K-12), we have helped tens of thousands of young people learn better ways to deal with conflict and cultural differences. The skills we teach--in communication, anger management, negotiation, mediation, intercultural understanding, and standing up to bias--increase children's emotional and social competence, improve their academic performance, and prevent violence.

Mediation training at Staten Island's Concord High School

Morningside Center undertook a major scientific evaluation of the RCCP. In September 1999, researchers at Columbia University completed the study, which found that children who received substantial instruction in the curriculum developed more positively than their peers who received no RCCP instruction. They saw their social world in a less hostile way and were more likely to choose nonviolent approaches for resolving conflicts. They also did better academically, as measured by standardized tests.

In 1999, we created The 4Rs Program (Reading, Writing, Respect & Resolution), which integrates conflict resolution and intercultural understanding into the language arts curriculum for grades K-5. Each grade, K-5, has its own 4Rs guide, covering seven key themes: community, feelings, listening, assertiveness, problem-solving, diversity, and making a difference. After reading and analyzing a carefully chosen children's book, children learn conflict resolution skills related to the theme and apply the ideas and skills they're learning to the challenges of creating community in their classroom. In 2003, we initiated a a major federally funded evaluation of The 4Rs in collaboration with researchers from New York University and Fordham University. Preliminary findings from this 3-year controlled study are extremely positive.

In the past several years, we have launched several other initiatives on conflict resolution and intercultural understanding:

  • The Early Childhood Adventures in Peacemaking Project trains and supports early childhood educators in improving young children's social and emotional competency, using a curriculum of age-appropriate activities such as puppets, stories, and songs.
  • PAZ (Peace from A to Z) is an after-school program at Brooklyn's P.S. 24 that engages 400 youngsters in learning conflict resolution through literature and other activities. We also provide support to other after-school programs around the city.
Teaching bias awareness at Manhattan's P.S. 165

Ever since its founding, Morningside Center has helped support teachers and youth workers in addressing current issues in their classrooms and organizations, providing training and support and developing new curricula. Our aim is to help youngsters learn how to think critically about issues of the day and encourage them to play an active role in shaping a more just and peaceful world.

Morningside Center launched its website of teacher resources, TeachableMoment.Org, in 2003. Through TeachableMoment, we provide teachers with up-to-the-minute inquiry-oriented lessons on issues of the day. We also offer activities aimed at fostering students' social and emotional development.

Since 1982, Morningside Center has been supported by hundreds of members, mostly educators and activists, throughout the New York City metropolitan area. Members receive our newsletter, Action News, and invitations to the training sessions, workshops, and book talks we offer each year.

Our office is located in the Interchurch Center, on the corner of 120th St. and Riverside Drive (entrance on Claremont Avenue), on the fifth floor.

Subway directions: Take the #1 or #9 subway to the 116th St. stop on Broadway. Walk down 116th Street (toward the Hudson River) one block and make a right onto Claremont Avenue. The Interchurch Center entrance is at 120th St. and Claremont, right across from Barnard College.

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© Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 550
New York, New York 10115
212.870.3318 | fax: 212.870.2464