Always drawn to working with young children, Sara began her career in early childhood as a Toddler Teacher. Her sense of adventure has guided her through experiences that include teaching, observing, and administrating programs for families and young children. Now, as the Training Manager for Teachstone, Sara enjoys flying the friendly skies to provide support to those who are learning, measuring, and improving classroom interactions using the CLASS measure.
When not at work, Sara can be found enjoying the outdoors—camping, hiking, or walking her dog.
So, your program is using the CLASS observation tool in pre-K classrooms. That’s wonderful! Here are a few things to think about as you consider transitioning to include use of the CLASS at the infant and toddler age levels as well.
I had the pleasure of presenting a session on the CLASS at a recent conference. Before beginning, I was doing my usual checks to be sure that everything was ready, that participants were getting signed in, and that no one was roaming the hallway trying to locate the session. As I stood near the doorway, two teachers approached and inquired about the session saying, “Will you be explaining how we do CLASS?”
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.
On a summer camping trip at a national park, “Please Don’t Feed the Bears" signs were everywhere. When my nephew inquired about this, the park ranger explained that feeding them would encourage the animals to return for more. Suddenly it hit me: while it’s not desirable in the forest, isn’t that exactly what we want to encourage in our classrooms? We want children to return for more, to persist with learning experiences, to engage with us in sustained discussions about their work.
A dear friend once told me, "The best phrase you can use in marriage is ‘You may be right.’” And she was absolutely correct! In today’s world, we are surrounded by those who are quick to share advice across a variety of experiences—life advice, relationship advice, career advice, funny advice, and sometimes absolutely irrelevant advice! There are times that we seek advice out and times that advice is freely offered to us. With advice from so many different sources, including our family, friends, colleagues, and social media, the challenge may be deciding what advice to follow.