We all want what’s best for our children. There are hundreds of aspects to measure: nutrition, exercise, curriculum, community involvement...the list could go on.
There’s one aspect that you may not know is measurable—that’s the interactions between teachers and students. This is where the CLASS tool comes in.
The Classroom Assessment Scoring System®️ (CLASS®️) is a tool that measures the quality of interactions between teachers and students. Many states use the CLASS measure in their quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) because strong evidence suggests that the tool is one of the closest predictors of child achievement rates later in life.
What is CLASS® and how does it work?
At the pre-K (ages 3–5) age level, the CLASS tool is divided into three domains. Each domain looks at different kinds of interactions.
*Each domain is broken down further into dimensions, or specific interactions that support the domain.
While these domains are specific to teachers in a classroom environment, you can incorporate these ideas at home. Every interchange during each part of the day results in opportunities for interactions that benefit your child!
What could this look like? Having conversations with children about their day.
Why is this important? Talking with your kids about their day and acknowledging their feelings is crucial to their emotional security. Their response and behavior have a meaning and a message that often tell you more than their words.
Do they seem more anxious about going to a play date? Talk them through why they’re feeling this way and come up with a plan to help them overcome their insecurities.
Creating an environment in which they’re comfortable to tell you how they feel results in happier, more confident children who are ready to learn.
What could this look like? Meals, dressing, getting ready for school or coming home.
Why is this important? While your home doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have a bell signaling each transition, having predictable and clear routines is important for your children. In fact, you're probably already doing this by having story time before bed or having your children color at the table before dinnertime.
Life is easier for you—and your kids—when everyone is prepared and knows what’s coming up next. By thinking about transitions ahead of time, you'll both be happier and more productive.
What could this look like? Asking your child questions while planning for a vacation.
Why is this important? Many opportunities happen every day, and just recognizing those moments will do much to help build children’s critical thinking skills. While your child is playing with his toys, ask open-ended questions that get him to “think out loud.”
For example: “I see you are dressing the baby in a new outfit. How did you decide to pick that one?” “What kind of clothes would we pack for that baby if we were going to the beach?” These kinds of questions can start interesting conversations that you can contribute to by expanding vocabulary. “We are packing for a trip to the beach, a vacation.”
Or you could ask kids to plan what they want to shop for at the grocery store and ways to cook a meal—the opportunities are endless! Just take a minute and ask yourself, “What could I do in this moment to keep this conversation going in a meaningful way?”
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The CLASS Learning Community is a community of teachers, observers, education leaders, and other educators dedicated to helping every child reach their full potential by measuring and improving classroom interactions.
The CLASS Learning Community is a great place to connect with others in the early education field. Members enjoy:
What’s the best way to teach empathy to an infant, toddler, or preschool aged child?
Joanna Parker joins the Teaching with CLASS® podcast to answer that question. Joanna has spent her entire career in early care and education. She’s worked with Head Start, Early Head Start, child care, early intervention, public PreK, and home visitation programs at the local, community, state, and national levels.
Joanna explains that defining empathy in early childhood is all about understanding social-emotional development. Children will not display empathy the way adults do because they are still developing social-emotional skills. But educators can instill foundational skills for children to build upon as they mature.
Social emotional learning (SEL) is a critical component of school readiness and later academic and social success. Did you know that high-quality interactions play an essential role in supporting children’s SEL learning? Our new brief breaks down the research behind the connections between teacher-child interactions and important social emotional skills.
Burnout among early childhood educators is at a whole new level within the last couple of years. Administrators, teachers, observers, and staff feel different levels of burnout, and there isn’t a magic cure or quick fix. On this episode of Teaching with CLASS®, our guest Colleen Schmit returns to the podcast to help educators recognize and work through burnout.