In January, I interviewed certfied MMCI Instructor Ashley Forde Moreau about her experiences with the CLASS. Learn about her journey with CLASS, facilitating MMCI trainings, and the importance of "ah ha" moments.
I'm originally from Houston, Texas, and my professional background is in Elementary Education. I've taught Kindergarten and 1st and 4th grade math/science. During my experiences as an elementary school teacher, I discovered how important it is to build an academic foundation with children in their earliest formative years. As an Infant/Toddler coach and MMCI Instructor, I have the opportunity to stress the importance of the role of early childhood educators in young children’s lives. And how their interactions help children become problem solvers and lifelong learners.
It’s been a wonderful journey. The teachers and providers I’ve worked with have had a wide range of experiences in the classroom. Our discussions allowed for meaningful and intentional conversations about their daily interactions with children. I enjoyed being able to shift their thinking in using the CLASS as a resource rather than just as an assessment tool. After learning more about the research and rationale behind CLASS, I know that they’ll focus on creating the best experiences and interactions with the children they serve.
The first challenge was to shift their perception of the CLASS tool. Yes, it’s used to observe teachers but, more importantly, it’s used as a learning tool. The SEE and KNOW sections of the CLASS Manual helped participants gain a deeper understanding of the tool. The Impact videos really allowed the discussions and “ah ha” moments to come to life. “Ah ha” moments are where the magic happens!
During one of the first sessions, the teachers were watching the infant videos. One of the participants remarked how amazing the teacher was and how exhausting it must be to do so much talking and interacting. By session 6, they shared that they were now talking to the infants in their care. Because of MMCI, they realized it WAS possible to interact with children like the teacher in the video.
That “ah ha” was a huge moment because she also admitted that, at first, she didn’t see how her talking more would help infants. After going through MMCI training she realized how just how important conversations between infants and adults are for infant development.
My goal was to stress that the CLASS lens is not about perfection, it’s about seeing your own strengths in the work that you do.
Data from the National Survey of Students’ Health (NSCH) indicates that almost half of the students in the United States have experienced one or more forms of serious trauma, such as poverty, homelessness, or abuse and neglect. This means that an estimated 35,000,00 students, from infancy through age 17 are at risk for not only school failure, but for a number of social-emotional and physical complications (e.g., PTSD, heart disease, etc.) that may have life-long consequences to their health and well-being. The effect of COVID-19 has surely increased the percentage of young people who are experiencing trauma. And while people of all races and socioeconomic statuses have been affected by COVID-19, poor communities of color have been disproportionately impacted, adding an additional level of trauma to a population already traumatized by systemic racism.
We recently came across a really interesting article that examined both the academic and emotional aspects of teaching mathematics and we were excited when the lead author agreed to answer some of our questions about the study. Read below for our conversation with Rebekah Berlin, Program Director for the Learning by Scientific Design Network at Deans for Impact.
The United States is grappling with three major emergencies that are compounded by systemic racism: COVID-19, the bleak economic outlook, and police violence. The poor outcomes for people of color, particularly African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans (CDC, June 2020, retrieved 6/1/2020), infected with COVID-19 reflect racism against individuals, disinvestment in communities, and discriminatory policies and laws.
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.