Young infants develop a unique relationship—known as attachment—with their caregivers. To develop secure bonds, infants need to know that at least one person really cares about them. Caregivers provide that comfort by helping infants regulate needs and emotions, such as hunger and sadness. With healthy attachments, infants develop a sense of safety and trust.
Infants need to be held, to have face-to-face interactions, to feel another human heartbeat. By meeting these needs, caregivers foster attachment. Plan how you will meet these essential needs—while keeping yourself and infants safe.
Caregivers need to build attachment with infants to help them thrive. Meanwhile, social distancing is necessary to keep settings safe. Healthy attachments are a strong starting place for infants to learn and grow.
When infants can trust their caregivers, they feel not only safe but also ready for learning and developing. Some social distancing precautions mean caregivers need to make an extra effort to form that trust.
When frightened, sad, frustrated, or even disgusted, infants seek comfort in caregivers. Different emotions call for different responses. But in socially distanced settings, staying safe is always a part of providing reassurance.
Now that you’ve read some ways to form attachment in your socially distanced setting, use this planning document to brainstorm how you will form attachment with the infants in your socially distanced classroom.
Family members are a child’s first teachers. So caregivers should maintain a close partnership with families. Building a trusting relationship with them helps you take all necessary precautions to keep infants and yourself healthy. Whether by phone, email, or text, provide opportunities for each family to share information and ideas about the developmental goals for their child. You can also schedule opportunities to share developmentally appropriate practices at home. Finally, by sharing videos of your interactions with infants, families can hear you demonstrating those practices, responding to their needs, and building healthy attachment.
Do you have fond childhood memories of sitting with a special adult and listening to them read one of your favorite stories? I vividly remember my dad reading The Elephant’s Child by Rudyard Kipling to me and how we laughed together at the funny voices he used. As an educator, you know how important those moments are for building warm connections, enjoying time together, and learning about many things. So, even if you missed out on those moments as a child, you want to create those moments for the children in your classroom. With careful planning, you can be confident that your read-alouds will be exciting, effective learning opportunities.
The majority of early childhood classrooms have at least one child who is a dual language learner (DLL) and this population is growing. One in three children from birth to age six speak a language besides English at home. Consequently, the majority of teachers need strategies on how to best support this group of students. We reached out to Veronica Fernandez, Developmental Psychologist and Research Scientist at the University of Miami for strategies she’s found most successful.
As part of our Teacher Spotlight series, we recently asked the CLASS Community to nominate a teacher whose high-quality classroom interactions are making a difference for their dual language learners. Our winner, Kim Schoell, has been teaching for 20 years and is currently a Pre-K teacher in Frederick County, VA. 67% of her students are Hispanic and many of the children are dual language learners.
We were really happy to receive an article examining the use of CLASS in American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start Programs. And we were equally happy when lead author, Jessica Barnes-Najor, a researcher at Michigan State University, agreed to speak with us. In conjunction with her work at MSU, Jessica is a co-investigator for The Tribal Early Childhood Research Center (TRC). Read below to learn more about this important research.