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.
As the former Vice President of Education and Program Operations, as well as the Head Start/Early Head Start Program Director, of a large Chicago Agency, I am often asked the question, “How did you get your CLASS scores to rise so much?” Our Pre-K Instructional Support scores rose from a 2.65 to a 3.74 the first year, and from a 3.74 to a 4.17 the second year. It wasn’t an easy process. And it was up to us to show our teachers the importance of teacher-student interactions and slowly introduce how CLASS scores could be used to improve these interactions.
Below are three steps we took to introduce the importance of CLASS and interactions to our teachers and, ultimately, raise our CLASS scores.
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.