As a parent you don’t get a written handbook or manual on how to raise your children. Becoming a parent is a scary thing! There are so many "what ifs" and "how tos." And if you’re co-parenting, there are different parenting skills and techniques–sometimes you see eye to eye and sometimes you’re not only on different pages but in completely different books.
I’ve been working in the early childhood field for years and have been lucky to have access to amazing professional development resources like CLASS and myTeachstone. Initially I thought that CLASS was only for the classroom until I realized I was taking all I learned from the CLASS tool and applying to my daily life with my very active four-year-old son.
I saw myself changing the way I was interacting with my son. I became more aware of his needs. I was more responsive and addressed issues more quickly and effectively. I began adjusting his routines and setting clear behavioral expectations for him. As I started acting out many of the behavioral markers I had grown accustomed to using in my classroom at home, I started to notice a real impact on my parenting.
Previously, my son’s nightly routine consisted of dinner, bath, a story of his choosing, and an episode or two of his favorite program, Octonauts, before lights out. Typically, I would wait till his show was over and hit the switch and off to bed he would go. Every night, however, seemed to be a battle—he wanted more TV or he wasn’t ready for the TV to be off. These battles were exhausting leaving him emotionally drained and my stress levels through the roof. I knew there had to be a better way.
I had to find a way to make things work for both of us. I thought to myself, “What am I doing wrong here? What am I missing?” Little did I realize at the time I had all the answers in front of me in my CLASS Manual. Things I so very often coach my teachers on, I wasn’t doing myself:
I talked to my husband and explained some of the CLASS Dimensions and how changing our interactions would benefit our son (and our sanity!). As a family, we sat down and talked about the best nightime routine that would work for everyone and and clarified our expectations. It was important to include my son in the process. We asked him what he would like to do after bathtime to prepare for bed (eating ice cream in bed was not an option). He told us he liked Mommy and Daddy reading him a book so we made sure that was included. We talked about setting a timer for TV time. We now have a ten-minute and five-minute warning to help him understand what is coming next. We wrote down the new nighttime schedule on a poster board and added pictures for my son to visualize the routine.
Now when the timer goes off, my son knows there are three rings that go off before it’s time to go to bed. I've even caught him turning off the TV himself after the final alarm. Our new routine has worked like magic for our family. I’ve noticed such a positive difference in how our evenings go. Consistency is important, though. I have noticed if we don’t stick to the plan we created together, or I forget the countdown to the timer, our nights are a bit tougher. Just like any four-year-old, he expects the consistency and I can now appreciate that.
Learning all I have from the CLASS tool has made me a better parent. I often review my manual not just for work but at home with my husband to help him understand how to be a better parent and be a parent in the “high range”. Because of CLASS, we can gladly say we have adopted some great developmentally appropriate practices in our home.
Gabrielle Izzo has been in child care for nearly 16 years. She is currently a TA/Coach for Agenda for Children. She has her CDA in both Toddlers and Pre-K. She also is a certified CLASS observer for both toddler and pre-K age levels, and she is also an MTP coach. A Botson native, Gabrielle has committed her life to improving the early childhood industry in New Orleans, where she strives to help teachers become leaders and children prepare for Kindgergarten.
Receive timely updates delivered straight to your inbox.
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!
Calvary City Academy & Preschool closed on March 13, along with most programs in Florida. While closed, we had much to prepare for reopening. While children were home, we prepared packets to send home, met with children virtually, and even hosted things like field day, spirit week, and graduation virtually! Even with those successes, we were so happy to be able to return to being in-person when we reopened in June. Since June, we’ve learned a lot. Here’s what’s working for us:
Across the nation, teachers learning about CLASS are asked to narrate their actions and sportscast their children’s experiences in order to support and encourage healthy language development. Hearing this, many teachers may wonder, “Will people think I’m crazy if I start talking to myself in the classroom?”
The answer is no. Self- and parallel talk are beneficial strategies for teachers to engage in because they strengthen language rich environments and enhance vocabulary development, all while supporting effective relationship building between teachers and children.
I recently heard a great analogy about the CLASS tool and I had to share it. I can’t take credit for the idea. Affiliate Trainer, Teresa Bockes, originated the concept, and I loved it the minute I heard it: CLASS is like a house. Let’s build a house step-by-step to learn more about this metaphor.