I was well steeped in the Pre-K tool when I attended my first Toddler CLASS training and I remember feeling pretty confident. The Dimensions were fairly similar to pre-K, and I know toddlers and toddler classrooms. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, I was truly surprised when I did not pass my first attempt at becoming reliable in Toddler CLASS! As disappointed in myself as I was (see Confessions of a Perfectionist: Failing CLASS Reliability) it was, in retrospect (even though a bit embarrassing) a good thing.
Clearly I was finding it challenging to make this switch. I had made some initial assumptions that Pre-K CLASS and Toddler CLASS were nearly identical—that turned out to be a detriment for me. I re-studied my manual, reviewed the Toddler Video Library, and thankfully I passed my second attempt. That was awhile back, and I am now a thoughtful Toddler (and Infant, Pre-K, and K-3) trainer. It turns out, many Pre-K Observers find the Toddler CLASS tool challenging at first. If that is happening for you too, here are some tips to support your Toddler trainings:
I hope these tips are supportive for your Toddler CLASS trainings. What challenges and successes are you experiencing as you support observers who are “leveling-down” (or up!)?
Teachers everywhere have yet another new challenge—supporting students and their families from home. We know that high-quality interactions, including interesting, hands-on experiences that are facilitated and supported with feedback, scaffolding, and higher-order thinking questions, best support young students' learning. So how do you help your students' caregivers offer the same high-quality interactions while at home? Well, Rachel Giannini has some super fun ideas to share! The following are ideas she shared during her session at our recent InterAct CLASS Summit.
When I first learned about CLASS Group Coaching—a training for early childhood professionals about building relationships with children—I was more than a little interested. This, I thought. This is what teaching is all about. It seems to be an obvious concept, but once we dig deeper, we are able to identify the whys and hows of our interactions. CLASS Group Coaching allows us to identify the benefits of our classroom relationships with our students and helps us be intentional in our daily practices. It allows us to utilize each moment we have with our students to deepen our understanding of their perspectives and genuinely connect with them as people. It helps us see the world from their view and guide their learning in a way that is relevant to them.
We all know people are naturally social beings—we need interactions to survive. But just because we’re naturally social doesn’t mean we know how to be social. We have to learn social behaviors—from our families, caregivers, and peers. Teachers play a key role in promoting social development, which includes peer play and friendships.
As a Certified CLASS Affiliate Trainer, I enjoy reading the discussion posts and responses in the CLASS Learning Community. It gives me further insight into the areas that teachers have questions about, and the responses and techniques that members of the community are sharing with others. Usually I just sit back, read along, and take it all in.
Then recently someone posted, “I'd love some great examples of what Quality of Feedback looks like when you're working with less verbal children. For instance... creating an effective feedback loop off of what a child does more so than what he or she says.”