I am delighted to introduce Bridget Rey, our Affiliate Trainer for November. As the CLASS Coordinator for Agenda for Children in New Orleans, Bridget has her hands in all things CLASS down in Louisiana! Louisiana’s Early Childhood Education Act mandates the completion of CLASS observations for the purpose of accountabilityduring the fall and spring in every toddler and pre-k classroom in programs that receive public funding. Agenda for Children is the lead agency for overseeing this work in New Orleans which amounts to approximately 1,000 CLASS observations in public schools, private schools, early learning centers and Head Start/Early Head Start.
Bridget became an Affiliate Trainer on Pre-K in June of 2013 and took on the Toddler Trainer role in October of the same year. Since that time, she has conducted 23 Pre-K and Toddler Intro and Observation Trainings throughout Louisiana. And because she isn’t busy enough, she hopes to become an Affiliate Trainer on Infant as well.
Bridget’s work with the CLASS expands beyond the training room. She uses the CLASS tool in her daily work to support Contracted CLASS Observers, early childhood education (ECE) providers, and coaches. Part of her work includes helping observers guard against drift, ensuring the reliability of the data that’s collected. In addition, she provides professional development so that ECE providers can improve the effectiveness of their interactions with children.
Bridget has remained in close contact with Teachstone so that she can take advantage of all the supports we provide to Affiliate Trainers (phone calls, emails, webinars, blogs, participating and presenting in InterAct Summit, etc.). Doing so has allowed her to more fully understand all aspects of the CLASS tool and to remain abreast of new professional development resources related to the CLASS tool. She encourages new trainers to make the training their own (within the parameters of the established standard) and applicable to their practice to creatively engage participants. She also recommends that new Affiliate Trainers be open to all the CLASS tool has to offer them in their work as well as in all other aspects of their life. She explains, “as I continue to utilize all of the supports offered by Teachstone, my experience with the tool has far surpassed all of my expectations and enhanced many of my professional and practical experiences!”
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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.
As a CLASS Group Coaching (MMCI) instructor, the sections of any given two-hour session may feel, at times, very goal driven. These sections titled "Know," "See," and "Do” are interconnected. In particular, it is possible to consider "Do" within "Know," and "See." When an instructor supports in-the-moment experiences that connect new knowledge to current practice, they make the CLASS dimensions more relevant to the educators' daily work. But how can we infuse more “Do” into “Know” and “See?” First, let's re-cap what happens in each section.
I have a confession to make. Recently, I used vacation time to stay home and watch Season 6 of The Walking Dead. I know, I know. How could I have let myself miss a whole season? Oh, and I feel a little bad about taking the time off from work too, but this was very nearly an emergency! I mean it was only weeks before Season 7 of the season premiere. I had to do something. Don’t judge.
While I was watching, I had the strangest feeling of deja vu. I felt like I had actually walked through a herd of zombies, but couldn’t quite place why it felt so familiar. Then it hit me—I had unknowingly created zombie-like participants during at least two of my previous CLASS trainings.