My last blog post kicked off a series of posts about how to use the CLASS™ measure in family child care (FCC) settings. Ginny Vitiello, Research and Evaluation Director at Teachstone, recently published a white paper on this very subject. From research, discussion with, and observations of FCC providers, we’ve identified four basic challenges to observers who are more familiar with center-based care.
FCC Challenge #1: Coding Across Multiple Age Levels
FCC homes include children across multiple age levels, anywhere from birth to age five, and often including school-aged children in wraparound care—care for children before and after school and days when school is not in session. The CLASS observation tool has specific measures for each of those ages: Infant (birth–18 months); Toddler (15–36 months); and Pre-K (3–5 years). When we see multiple age groups in a single setting, the question becomes: “Which tool should I use?"
Here are a few recommendations:
Based on my experience using the CLASS in FCCs, I would adhere to this last recommendation. This is particularly helpful as there is some data to show us that there can be variation in terms of effectiveness for different ages. The other benefit is that the cycle chosen can be adjusted based on the age levels represented., to capture the experience of each age group. Use of different age levels through several cycles, helps to gather enough data to see the level of interactions in the setting.
In February, I’ll examine the second challenge Ginny mentioned in her white paper: the low number of children served in FCC settings and how to establish a protocol to meet this challenge. Before then, I hope you’ll check out the white paper and let us know what challenges you encounter when observing in FCC homes. I’d love to see your comments in the Leave a Reply section below!
Across the country and around the globe, schools/programs will soon reopen after extended closures due to COVID-19. Those that have remained open are instituting new health and safety practices.. Localities will determine whether to provide in-person, online, or hybrid teaching. Regardless of the model that schools/programs adopt, classrooms will look different now and for the foreseeable future.
In the wake of the widespread civil unrest after the killing of George Floyd, the national conversation about the inequities in the educational opportunities provided white students and students of color has been amplified. Due to racial and socioeconomic segregation, Black students, and other students of color, are more likely to attend poorly funded schools. EdBuild, a non-profit focused on fair and equitable school funding, reports that high poverty school districts that predominantly enroll children of color receive on average, $1,600 less per student than the national average. By their calculations, there is a $23,000,000,000 gap between funding for schools that primarily serve high poverty Black students and those that predominantly serve white students. Schools that predominantly serve high poverty white students, only receive $1440 less per student (EdBuild, 2019).
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.