In January, I interviewed certified CLASS Group Coaching (CGC) Instructor Ashley Forde Moreau about her experiences with the CLASS. Learn about her journey with CLASS, facilitating CGC trainings, and the importance of "ah ha" moments.

Tell me a little about yourself and your background in the early childhood education field.

I'm originally from Houston, Texas, and my professional background is in Elementary Education. I've taught Kindergarten and 1st and 4th-grade math/science. During my experiences as an elementary school teacher, I discovered how important it is to build an academic foundation with children in their earliest formative years. As an Infant–Toddler coach and CGC Instructor, I have the opportunity to stress the importance of the role of early childhood educators in young children’s lives. And how their interactions help children become problem solvers and lifelong learners. 

Tell me about your experiences with CGC and your journey to becoming certified.

It’s been a wonderful journey. The teachers and providers I’ve worked with have had a wide range of experiences in the classroom. Our discussions allowed for meaningful and intentional conversations about their daily interactions with children. I enjoyed being able to shift their thinking in using the CLASS as a resource rather than just as an assessment tool. After learning more about the research and rationale behind CLASS, I know that they’ll focus on creating the best experiences and interactions with the children they serve. 

What are some of the challenges you faced facilitating CGC and how did you overcome them?

The first challenge was to shift their perception of the CLASS tool. Yes, it’s used to observe teachers but, more importantly, it’s used as a learning tool. The SEE and KNOW sections of the CLASS Manual helped participants gain a deeper understanding of the tool. The Impact videos really allowed the discussions and “ah ha” moments to come to life. “Ah ha” moments are where the magic happens!

Can you tell me a success you have seen as a result of CGC? A specific “ah ha” moment from a teacher?

During one of the first sessions, the teachers were watching the infant videos. One of the participants remarked how amazing the teacher was and how exhausting it must be to do so much talking and interacting. By session 6, they shared that they were now talking to the infants in their care. Because of CGC, they realized it WAS possible to interact with children like the teacher in the video.

That “ah ha” was a huge moment because she also admitted that, at first, she didn’t see how her talking more would help infants. After going through CGC training she realized how just how important conversations between infants and adults are for infant development.  

What is your biggest takeaway from facilitating CGC? 

My goal was to stress that the CLASS lens is not about perfection, it’s about seeing your own strengths in the work that you do.