In last month's blog post in our family child care (FCC) series, we looked at the first challenge of coding across multiple age levels in family child care homes. This month, we'll explore the second challenge observers often face in FCC settings: what to do when you arrive at a family child care home and there are only a couple of children there.
FCC Challenge #2: Establishing Coding Consistency in Inconsistent Settings
Family homes often operate for extended hours, providing early-morning, late-evening, and even overnight care, and the number of children present at any one time can vary from setting to setting, day to day, hour to hour. Parents sometimes need to drop off their school-aged child before the bus comes and they may be present for part of the time you are there. Other children are picked up and dropped off based on their parent’s work schedule, this flexibility being one of the benefits of in-home care for families with non-traditional work schedules. So the question becomes: “How should I proceed with such variability?”
Here are some tips:
The purpose for doing CLASS™ observations can vary. It may be for research, accountability efforts, program planning and evaluation, or professional development and supervision. Giving careful consideration to how the data will be used is also an important part of conducting these observations.
Here are some tips:
What kind of protocol works best for your organization?
When Covid-19 hit and schools shut down, many of us were certain that it would not impact the 2020-21 school year. But with the pandemic surging and some schools opening up - only to shut down again, it’s clear that Covid is still with us. The length of the pandemic has only heightened concern about Covid related learning loss - especially among underserved populations.
Young infants develop a unique relationship—known as attachment—with their caregivers. To develop secure bonds, infants need to know that at least one person really cares about them. Caregivers provide that comfort by helping infants regulate needs and emotions, such as hunger and sadness. With healthy attachments, infants develop a sense of safety and trust.
Infants need to be held, to have face-to-face interactions, to feel another human heartbeat. By meeting these needs, caregivers foster attachment. Plan how you will meet these essential needs—while keeping yourself and infants safe.
Children need to feel safe before they can explore their surroundings. While curiosity and exploration help awaken children’s talents, teachers help reinforce their learning through guidance and repetition. All children benefit from intentional interactions that inspire them through new experiences—and some children need additional or individualized support.
Given the natural need to be around others, children might have a hard time with social distancing. Organize materials in spaces where two friends can explore together. Make yourself available to facilitate their exploration while ensuring safety.
Toddlers reinforce their trust in caregivers while venturing into the world on their own. Along with stable relationships and independence, they need frequent reminders of behavioral expectations to keep themselves and their peers safe. With support and regulation, educators can help buffer the effects of stress or trauma and promote healthy child development.
Children learn best in a warm, safe environment. While positive interactions strengthen a classroom community, clear safety expectations promote healthiness. Remind children that these measures are in place because you care about them.