How do you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? I posed that question to a random selection of contacts via text message. What did I discover? Everyone in my sample group spreads on the PB first, then the J. There are a variety of ways though to apply the jelly, but in my random group, the jelly always comes second.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches make me think about Behavior Guidance, a dimension in the CLASS® toddler observation tool. Especially the first two indicators of behavior guidance: proactive and supporting positive behavior. Proactive is the peanut butter! It goes first. That layer of peanut butter is the base for the jelly, which promotes positive behavior.
Effective toddler teachers spread the foundation for young children to begin to understand what behaviors are acceptable. This foundation is the indicator "proactive." They do this work in a co-regulation relationship model, one steeped in a continuous circle of acknowledging and labeling emotions, responding to toddler's needs, and providing lots of comfort!
Let's set ourselves and the children up for success.
Toddler teachers sometimes feel like they are running around all day putting out behavior "fires." But, with a little bit of advanced planning, toddler teachers can move from reactive (putting out fires) to proactive guidance. Does your daily schedule look a little too much like a Pre-K classroom's routine? Consider a daily schedule that reduces waiting times, long group times, and those really big full-group transitions. Do children lose interest in activities quickly? Provide lots of choices, be ready to switch it up, and always have novel items at the ready to hold interest. And finally, think through some toddler-appropriate behavior expectations.
Okay, we know toddlers are in the process of learning how to self-regulate and manage their behavior. They are taking their cues from adults. Toddlers still need adults to co-regulate with them; adults help children manage and recover from emotionally charged experiences. And toddlers are learning all about appropriate behavior when adults intentionally point out those well-behaved moments over and over again!
Spreading the jelly on the peanut butter is not for the faint at heart! It takes a lot of watching, talking, and tending to toddler's behavior every day!
I hope you are excited to use the peanut butter and jelly analogy as you guide children's behavior in your toddler or family childcare setting. How we manage the transition from infancy to preschool sets a child up for success as they move towards self-regulation. The reward, of course, is watching the older toddlers and young preschoolers manage rules and routines, all resulting from the adult's hard and diligent work in those tender toddler months!
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Can we talk about structure? When CLASS® entered my life, I was 20 years into my career in the field of early childhood education. What I remember most about that initial training, besides the nervousness about an impending reliability test, was a sense of relief. Structure, including state and program standards, curriculum, materials in the classroom, and approaches to childcare and pedagogy, had dominated my working hours. CLASS was a lot to learn, but for me, it was a breath of fresh air. Observing with CLASS meant I could set aside my obsession with all things structural, which encompassed my thoughts every time I walked into an early childhood classroom.
Originally published Jan 23, 2020 by Allie Kallmann
A few years into teaching early childhood, I applied to work at a school that does incredible work in the local community. I was thrilled to get an interview but realized very quickly that, even though the environment was supportive and the students were wonderful young people, I was much too intimidated to work there.
Originally published December 22, 2016
Regard for Student Perspectives as defined by CLASS® is“the degree to which the teacher’s interactions with students and classroom activities place an emphasis on students’ interests, motivations, and points of view and encourage student responsibility and autonomy.” This often looks like following children's lead so that you can anticipate their needs during an activity.
Understanding how to effectively employ CLASS's Regard for Student Perspectives while maintaining a constructive learning environment can be challenging. In the following paragraphs the fictional preschool professional, Mrs. Jones, will illustrate the indicators of Regard for Student Perspectives at circle time. I’ll then discuss her exemplary examples:
Feel intimidated by the idea of advocacy? Many do. Our guest on today's episode of Teaching with CLASS, Jake Stewart, explains the importance of using your voice to make change & easy ways to take action. Whether you're talking to Members of Congress, creating a TikTok, or simply talking to a family member, your voice as an educator matters.