I was well steeped in the Pre-K tool when I attended my first Toddler CLASS training and I remember feeling pretty confident. The Dimensions were fairly similar to pre-K, and I know toddlers and toddler classrooms. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, I was truly surprised when I did not pass my first attempt at becoming reliable in Toddler CLASS! As disappointed in myself as I was (see Confessions of a Perfectionist: Failing CLASS Reliability) it was, in retrospect (even though a bit embarrassing) a good thing.
Clearly I was finding it challenging to make this switch. I had made some initial assumptions that Pre-K CLASS and Toddler CLASS were nearly identical—that turned out to be a detriment for me. I re-studied my manual, reviewed the Toddler Video Library, and thankfully I passed my second attempt. That was awhile back, and I am now a thoughtful Toddler (and Infant, Pre-K, and K-3) trainer. It turns out, many Pre-K Observers find the Toddler CLASS tool challenging at first. If that is happening for you too, here are some tips to support your Toddler trainings:
I hope these tips are supportive for your Toddler CLASS trainings. What challenges and successes are you experiencing as you support observers who are “leveling-down” (or up!)?
How do you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? I posed that question to a random selection of contacts via text message. What did I discover? Everyone in my sample group spreads on the PB first, then the J. There are a variety of ways though to apply the jelly, but in my random group, the jelly always comes second.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches make me think about Behavior Guidance, a dimension in the CLASS® toddler observation tool. Especially the first two indicators of behavior guidance: proactive and supporting positive behavior. Proactive is the peanut butter! It goes first. That layer of peanut butter is the base for the jelly, which promotes positive behavior.
Shared physical presence is a large part of how we’re used to connecting with each other. Strong connections and relationships are important for children who may have recently experienced loss, high stress, or trauma. As teachers connect with children in a virtual setting, it can be more challenging to think about how to create a safe space for learning, sharing experiences, and taking risks.
There’s no sugar coating it - the 2020-21 school year was tough. Teachers, schools, and child care workers shouldered a massive burden, taking work that was already challenging and turning the difficulty up to 11. Well, maybe 12 or 13. Or 15. Who’s counting?
So, as you, educators, prepare for the upcoming school year, Teachstone wanted to recognize all the creativity, flexibility, and impact that teachers have demonstrated. We brought together Teachstone’s Kristin Valdes, Senior Instructional Designer, and Colleen Schmit, CDA Facilitator, in a recent webinar to celebrate the great and important work of teachers and to explore how the smallest moments make big impacts.
Here’s what our hosts shared with and heard from participants.
At Teachstone, we sometimes hear from educators that they aren’t sure how to help facilitate exploration in their learning environments. The CLASS® Manual gives some specific examples, like asking the children to predict which ball will roll further, or making faces back and forth with an infant. But, in this blog post, I want to talk about how the learning environment space itself. The set-up and materials you use can support stronger interactions with children as well.