It’s such a delicate balance: you want to support children’s independence and show genuine regard for their perspectives, but you’re afraid that if you do, your class will get out of control. It’s happened to me—I’m following one child’s lead and suddenly the rest of the group is completely off track, or a child is leading a lesson and the rest of the class ignores him! So how do teachers give children genuine leadership opportunities, and still complete activities and maintain an organized classroom? The CLASS tool summarizes ways to do both—and our Video Library shows real teachers with strong Classroom Organization skills being flexible and student-focused, and supporting children’s leadership and independence.
Try it out—and post about how it goes!
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in October, 2014, but has since been updated to incorporate more accurate data and to keep content fresh and engaging.
The time has come for hard conversations.
That’s the feedback we have been receiving from educators across the country. There are plenty of tough conversations educators are trained, taught, or feel equipped to handle with children and families - gently bringing up a developmental concern, facilitating a disagreement between students, or explaining what happened with the classroom goldfish are all part of a day in the life. But in the last year, since the killing of George Floyd and other Black people at the hands of police, educators are increasingly asking for help in communicating more comfortably with young children about diversity and difference.
I was supposed to be an architect, instead I was a teacher of young children; it felt like my calling.
When I started my coursework, they tasked me with visiting multiple classrooms. It overwhelmed me when in some classrooms, children were crying, teachers were frustrated, and no one seemed to enjoy the day. I thought I had made a mistake. Thankfully, I had a professor who inspired me to continue. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the behaviors I observed in both children and teachers, the professor charged me to uncover the root of those behaviors.
And so, my journey to support social-emotional development began.
This past year of hybrid and virtual learning due to the pandemic highlighted the gaps in learning and the inequities that we already knew existed. It is apparent, now more than ever, that there needs to be a narrow focus on bridging the divides (e.g., digital) that exist and meeting students where they are in order to promote growth and put less emphasis on standardized testing. This would allow teachers to concentrate on curriculum with greater impact, differentiate their instruction, and utilize effective strategies that they know make a difference for children’s outcomes.