In last month's blog post in our family child care (FCC) series, we looked at the first challenge of coding across multiple age levels in family child care homes. This month, we'll explore the second challenge observers often face in FCC settings: what to do when you arrive at a family child care home and there are only a couple of children there.
FCC Challenge #2: Establishing Coding Consistency in Inconsistent Settings
Family homes often operate for extended hours, providing early-morning, late-evening, and even overnight care, and the number of children present at any one time can vary from setting to setting, day to day, hour to hour. Parents sometimes need to drop off their school-aged child before the bus comes and they may be present for part of the time you are there. Other children are picked up and dropped off based on their parent’s work schedule, this flexibility being one of the benefits of in-home care for families with non-traditional work schedules. So the question becomes: “How should I proceed with such variability?”
Here are some tips:
The purpose for doing CLASS™ observations can vary. It may be for research, accountability efforts, program planning and evaluation, or professional development and supervision. Giving careful consideration to how the data will be used is also an important part of conducting these observations.
Here are some tips:
What kind of protocol works best for your organization?
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When I was a teacher, I can remember taking care to intentionally plan differentiated, or individualized, instruction. And, when I was teaching pre-K I added the same level of intentionality to which materials were available in interest areas, and how I approached transitions throughout the day.
While any level of intentionally, specifically in relation to planning, is important -- I missed a critical opportunity in being more intentional in my interactions with the children in my class.
There is always an opportunity for interaction. Some opportunities are easily recognizable: times of play, free choice, centers, small group. We often see teachers engaged in activities alongside children during these times or hear questions being asked. Other opportunities might be a little less obvious. These are the times of your day that you might see as mundane moments that merely require your supervision or monitoring. The times where you’re going through the motions. “I’m doing this thing so I can move on to the next thing.”
In a previous blog, colleague and early childhood environment extraordinaire, Heather Sason, discussed how your classroom environment can help promote effective teacher-child interactions. In this blog, I propose we explore some of the often overlooked times in your day that are ripe for interactions with children and that do promote exploration, learning, and development!
It's not uncommon for teachers in early education to need to strike a balance between following children's leads and sticking to the classroom schedule. We know that intentional teachers are aware of their responsibility to assess student progress, understand skill mastery, and plan accordingly to provide opportunities for children to grow. However, many times, as teachers begin a specific teacher-directed activity, it is unsettling when students begin to veer from the step-by-step plans the teacher has worked hard to implement.
Teacher and coach, Colleen Schmit, will share how teachers can strike the balance between following the lesson plans and giving children freedom of choice and flexibility in the classroom.
As an educator, you’re busy. Your time is being split by competing priorities, from managing students’ needs, meeting your program’s goals, and communicating with parents. While you’re juggling your work, it can be difficult to keep learning about important ways to improve your daily teaching practice. Teachstone is here to help!