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!
A language, and literacy-rich environment can help to promote the development of literacy skills. This idea of a literacy-rich environment can extend beyond the classroom and into the home in three quick ways.
Read, Write, and Tell Stories Together
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Sing Silly Songs
|Build print awareness by reading together, telling stories, and writing your own stories. Engage your child in the process by asking them to imagine what happens next!||Support language development by giving ample opportunities for discussion. Use ‘open-ended’ questions that start with what, how, and why to promote exchanges.||Create opportunities to play with letter sounds with silly songs, take your favorite tune and drop the first letter and enjoy laughing at the silly nonsense it results in.|
Use Daily Routines for Math Exploration
Daily tasks are full of opportunities to explore and practice math concepts, like counting, sorting, comparing. Try these ideas to make daily routines into an opportunity for learning.
Count During Mealtimes
Compare While Getting Dressed
Turn Clean Up Time into a Shape Hunt
|Use mealtimes, or even when packing lunch or snack, to practice counting the items on the plate, or the items needed to build the snack or lunch.||While getting dressed, or putting laundry away, compare the clothes items. Which are big, which are small? How are they alike or different?||Make “clean up time” a game, by asking your child to pick up or find all the toys that are a square, then circle, and so on!|
The tips and tricks above can help families be more intentional in supporting learning at home, but the best advice to give is to encourage families to play and have fun together.
While playing, children aren’t just learning about themselves and the world around them. They get to interact with one another and the adults who care for them. And, we know it’s through those quality interactions that children can form relationships and feel safe, which is the key to better learning outcomes.
Whether you’re simply celebrating and supporting the families you work with, or you’re working to adhere to specific Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and Head Start Family Engagement policies and requirements, we’re here to help.
We are excited to announce a new workshop, Meaningful Interactions at Home, which supports your family engagement initiatives, by helping families turn everyday moments into opportunities for learning.
Designed as a one-hour online family workshop, Meaningful Interactions at Home:
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We all want what’s best for our children. There are hundreds of aspects to measure: nutrition, exercise, curriculum, community involvement...the list could go on.
There’s one aspect that you may not know is measurable—that’s the interactions between teachers and students. This is where the CLASS tool comes in.
So, you’re dual-certified on the Infant and Toddler CLASS® tools. Congrats! Not only can you observe in Infant classrooms (birth to 18 months) and Toddler classrooms (15 to 36 months), but you can also observe in classrooms that contain a mix of the two age levels. If you are observing in a classroom with three age levels, as there often are in Family Day Homes, check out this guidance.
Observing in mixed age classrooms may seem daunting, but it’s completely doable. If you’re preparing to do Infant/Toddler CLASS observations, read on to get solutions to three of the most common challenges when observing in a mixed-age setting.
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: