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.
The Classroom Assessment Scoring System®️ (CLASS®️) is a tool that measures the quality of interactions between teachers and students. Many states use the CLASS measure in their quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) because strong evidence suggests that the tool is one of the closest predictors of child achievement rates later in life.
What is CLASS® and how does it work?
At the pre-K (ages 3–5) age level, the CLASS tool is divided into three domains. Each domain looks at different kinds of interactions.
*Each domain is broken down further into dimensions, or specific interactions that support the domain.
While these domains are specific to teachers in a classroom environment, you can incorporate these ideas at home. Every interchange during each part of the day results in opportunities for interactions that benefit your child!
What could this look like? Having conversations with children about their day.
Why is this important? Talking with your kids about their day and acknowledging their feelings is crucial to their emotional security. Their response and behavior have a meaning and a message that often tell you more than their words.
Do they seem more anxious about going to a play date? Talk them through why they’re feeling this way and come up with a plan to help them overcome their insecurities.
Creating an environment in which they’re comfortable to tell you how they feel results in happier, more confident children who are ready to learn.
What could this look like? Meals, dressing, getting ready for school or coming home.
Why is this important? While your home doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have a bell signaling each transition, having predictable and clear routines is important for your children. In fact, you're probably already doing this by having story time before bed or having your children color at the table before dinnertime.
Life is easier for you—and your kids—when everyone is prepared and knows what’s coming up next. By thinking about transitions ahead of time, you'll both be happier and more productive.
What could this look like? Asking your child questions while planning for a vacation.
Why is this important? Many opportunities happen every day, and just recognizing those moments will do much to help build children’s critical thinking skills. While your child is playing with his toys, ask open-ended questions that get him to “think out loud.”
For example: “I see you are dressing the baby in a new outfit. How did you decide to pick that one?” “What kind of clothes would we pack for that baby if we were going to the beach?” These kinds of questions can start interesting conversations that you can contribute to by expanding vocabulary. “We are packing for a trip to the beach, a vacation.”
Or you could ask kids to plan what they want to shop for at the grocery store and ways to cook a meal—the opportunities are endless! Just take a minute and ask yourself, “What could I do in this moment to keep this conversation going in a meaningful way?”
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As you know, CLASS® is a tool that captures teacher-student interactions. When it comes to the dimension Concept Development, the focus is on the method the teacher uses to provide instruction in the classroom. While the interactions are what get measured with CLASS, as a teacher you can plan for Concept Development to be more intentionally woven throughout your lessons.
Let’s look closer at how to do this.
New research from the nonprofit, LENA, suggests that babies born since the pandemic started are talking less and experiencing fewer conversational turns than babies born before COVID. This supports other studies that show that COVID-era babies are experiencing developmental delays and may impact their school readiness as as they get older. So, what does this mean for educators? And, how can we support these infants and toddlers with their language development?