Once you have been through CLASS Observation Training, it is hard not to notice interactions everywhere you go! You even start to sort those behaviors into dimensions mentally—at least I know I do! When this happens, it can lead us to our own "ah-ha!" moments when preparing for training and gives us some great examples to use with participants who may be experiencing CLASS for the first time. Being able to connect the tool with a relevant, real world examples helps participants connect new content with something they may have experienced, too!
We want to help add to your collection of examples to use during trainings, and thus the “Real World Examples" series is born. Each post in this series will take a look at one dimension and give real world examples of its indicators. Today we will start by looking at Positive Climate.
The Example: Getting To Know New Neighbors
Consider the process in getting to know new neighbors. It starts by talking in passing and asking how things are going. As you get to know them, perhaps you offer to help them out with a garden chore (peer assistance). As the relationship builds, you begin talking about everything from kids to work to family (social conversation). Soon, you’re planning trips to the park together or even neighborhood barbecues (shared activities) where everyone pitches in and comes together to talk and eat around the picnic table (physical proximity).
The Example: Grocery Store Demonstrations
Think about a trip to the grocery store, when the management thoughtfully places a tasting cart close to the entry. What makes these trips memorable is not just the placement of the tasting cart, but the demonstrator that consistently greets customers. Upon arrival, she greets you with a big smile and says, “Welcome back!” Her enthusiasm draws you in to look at the product on display, and when you approach the table, she is so enthused about what she is serving that you can’t help but take a taste! You leave feeling a bit more cheery, which makes shopping in a busy store more enjoyable.
The Example: Kid’s Soccer Teams
Have you ever experienced children’s sports games, the ones where they are just learning their sport of choice? Take soccer, for example: imagine one team of girls learning the game and trying to find their coordination all at the same time. It's adorable but also a time of great influence for the girls trying to find their way in a new experience. Here, you will often find ample examples of positive communication. You might notice the coach greeting each girl with an enthusiastic, “I’m so glad you are here today!” (verbal affection) and high-fives (physical affection). During a water break, the coach crouches down and tells the team, “I am so proud of how hard you are working today! I know if we work together, we can make some goals” (positive expectations).
The Example: A Visit to the Doctor
Taking a child to the doctor can be a great experience—especially if you have a doctor who respects the child they are working with. Respectful doctors greet the child when they enter the examination room: “Good morning Joe, good morning mom” (using names). They use a warm, calm voice, and always ask for the child’s permission before checking eyes and ears. At the end of the appointment, they thank their patients (respectful language) for coming in for the visit.
By connecting CLASS indicators to your life, CLASS will be more meaningful and relevant! Stay tuned for additional dimensions in this series. What are some of your favorite real-world examples of Positive Climate?
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On November 9, 2021, Teachstone hosted the Building Confidence and Consistency in Your Head Start Program webinar with Sara Diamond, Director of Partnership Development at Teachstone, and Michelle Crawford, CLASS® Specialist.
Together, Sara and Michelle provided tips for helping educators dig deeper in their interactions and feel more confident in their teaching practice. Before diving into the tips for building confidence and consistency, Michelle shared a powerful quote from Lori Archer, a Head Start teacher:
November is National Family Engagement Month. As educators, we’re often focused on supporting children’s academic, social, and emotional growth in the classroom. But, it’s important to remember that families are a child’s first teacher. This month, we’re celebrating how to take learning home and support families’ opportunities to impact their child’s development and learning through the power of interactions.
As part of your family engagement initiatives this month (and beyond!), consider how you can help families understand and leverage their interactions at home. To help, check out these tips and tricks below that you can share with the families in your early childhood program!