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!
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Hey there, Teachstone community! My name is Stephanie Lewandowski, and I am the Senior Product Manager for myTeachstone. Before joining Teachstone, I built digital products for education companies, financial institutions, and government agencies. I’m passionate about delivering impactful products, particularly the tools that make the everyday work of teaching and learning a little bit easier. As a parent, and as a product manager, I know how invaluable early childhood education is, and I’m inspired by the teachers in both my personal and professional life.
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