Our QRIS (Quality Rating and Improvement System) journey began in 2004 in a small office with just three staff. Just like many organizations, we contracted with a consultant to guide us in the implementation of our pilot QRS (Quality Rating System). We assembled quality indicators and requirements galore into eight domains, including ratios, screening and assessment, program operations, learning environment, curriculum, etc. Documents, documents, and more documents were reviewed to assign a star rating for a child care center.
Infants are completely dependant on adults for their survival and development. That's why it is important to start CLASS observations even in classrooms with the youngest children. Learn about the four specific dimensions that make up infant-caregiver interactions, and how to improve these interactions in our new online program, Learn About Infant CLASS Dimensions.
Editor’s Note: There are several ways to approach coding in a mixed-age setting. Teachstone’s official recommendation when observing in multi-age settings is to alternate between two age levels in order to capture the experiences of most children and produce independent scores between the age levels. That being said, we are interested in hearing how other organizations approach observations. Which approach you choose depends on lots of factors, like the purpose of the observation, and time or money constraints.
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! Observing in mixed age classrooms may seem daunting, but I’m here to tell you that it’s completely doable. If you’re preparing to do Infant/Toddler CLASS observations, read on. This blog presents solutions to three of the most common challenges dual Infant/Toddler observers face when observing in a mixed-age setting.
My daughters were both early talkers (taking after their chatty mother, I’m sure). My oldest’s first word was, adorably, “Mama.” My second child’s was “no,” followed by “too” as in “me too, I want that!” At her first Christmas, her big sister unwrapped a doll and Dava immediately burst into tears, yelling, “Too, too!” At nine months, her communication system was working great! (And yes, she got a doll, “too, too.”)
The rapid pace of human development in the first three years of life requires teachers and caregivers to be nimble. Whether a family member or teacher, you must be on your toes to effectively support a baby’s development, constantly gauging the child’s needs and changing your approach to meet those needs. With all this change occurring, how do we ensure that consistent, high quality care is provided during this critical time period, in which brain development profoundly impacts success later in life? Thankfully, we now have a plethora of brain science to understand the implications of the quality of experiences, like this excellent report from the Institute for Child Success.
The CLASS tool measures interactions in classrooms serving infants through high school students. That’s quite a span—and also why there are six different tools tailored to each age level. So what links these different tools? That’s where a fancy-pants term comes in: heterotypic continuity.
Training on the Infant CLASS measure has officially begun! Our first trainings, hosted by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), were recently held in Washington, DC. Together we explored the development and growth of young children and discussed the importance of children’s first relationships in classrooms or care settings. Using the framework of the CLASS measure, we connected children’s developmental needs with teacher practices that build relationships, provide security, encourage exploration, and support learning.
We’re so lucky at Teachstone® that people see value in what we do. Thank goodness—for many reasons—that stakeholders in the early childhood community urgently want to focus on teacher-child interactions. Yes, it means that we all have jobs. But it also means that word is getting out that these things really matter.