Teachstone continues to fulfill the important role of supporting Spanish-speaking partners who implement CLASS in their programs and communities. In an effort to strengthen our reach to this key base, Teachstone recently hosted a regional conference in Caguas, Puerto Rico. The regional conference offered several CLASS trainings in Spanish as well as translation services for English trainings. Trainings were held from November 4–8 at the headquarters and facilities of Camera Mundi Inc. Camera Mundi is the largest and most comprehensive provider of products, equipment, materials, and services to the educational sector in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.
One of the highlights from this weeklong event included a Head Start forum, where Camera Mundi General Manager Jorge G. Díaz Rivera formally announced his organization’s partnership with Teachstone. Mr. Rivera expressed an enthusiasm for the collaboration.
Many local community members and leaders in the field of education attended the forum, which included an overview of Teachstone’s most recently translated products and services. Senior International Advisor Lorena Sernett highlighted Teachstone’s latest efforts in providing CLASS trainings, products, and services in Spanish. Bilingual Community Specialist Richard Aguilar also provided information on several new supports available to Spanish community members, including La Comunidad de CLASS, a Facebook page dedicated to Spanish-speaking educators.
Over 100 participants attended trainings during the week, most from local Head Start programs, but also a few from Colombia and the US mainland. Teachstone offered Spanish Pre-K and Infant-Toddler Observation Training, A CLASS Primer for Teachers in Spanish (Fundamentos de CLASS para maestros), and Train-the-Trainer for the Pre-K age level.
Overall, turnout for the regional conference in Puerto Rico was robust, and participants were eager to enhance their understanding of the CLASS tool. Teachstone looks forward to the collaborative mission alongside Camera Mundi—and is proud to play its role in advancing the education of children in Puerto Rico and throughout the world.
On Wednesday, September 23, the Office of Head Start (OHS) announced that it will be suspending CLASS reviews for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. We sincerely hope this news relieves some of the stress our Head Start partners have felt as they grapple with new challenges related to pandemic conditions.
It is also our hope that programs will use this time to provide specific CLASS support to staff in order to strengthen interactions, regardless of the delivery model in which they are serving children.
With the increased presence of virtual schooling, parents and educators of young children, including myself, are finding themselves stressed. Are children getting the content they need? How do I engage children in learning virtually? How do we help children develop essential skills such as curiosity, attention, and emotion regulation in a virtual setting? In a recent New York Times op-ed, entitled “Kids Can Learn to Love Learning, Even Over Zoom”, psychologist Adam Grant shared ways that teachers can promote curiosity in a virtual classroom. He discussed the importance of including “mystery, exploration, and meaning.”
One of the initial directives from the COVID-19 pandemic was shelter-in-place. To fuel this approach, life as we knew it changed immediately. Many of the venues that were a part of our normal lives were no longer available to us. We could not eat out in restaurants, go to movies, enjoy fellowship in churches, attend plays or concerts, and the list continued to grow. Suddenly, we found ourselves confined to our homes simply because there was nowhere else to go. Shelter-in-place limited the opportunities to spend time together. For educators, our relationships with our students and colleagues were snatched from us without any warning. They were just gone.
So much has changed in the world of early childhood education since a global pandemic became part of our reality. School districts, families, child-care centers, home centers, state agencies, and federal agencies have been scrambling to keep up with what caring for young children looks like under new regulations. The statewide agency I work for consists of both federal (Head Start) and state-funded programs, and I’d like to share what guidance we’ve created for staff around changes in the day-to-day routine.*