About four months ago, my husband and I welcomed our second child, Maddy, into the world. Unlike 20 months earlier, when Oliver was born, we weren’t worried about having all the right baby gear. I wasn’t waking with nightmares about the birth. Quite frankly, our hands were so full juggling full time jobs and a toddler that child #2 was more of an afterthought. It would be simple—I knew exactly what I was doing.
Then Maddy arrived. And despite a rough birth (oh, epidural, if only you had worked this time around) and some sleepless nights early on, everything was status quo. I knew how to calm a crying baby, nursing was just like riding a bike, and she started sleeping through the night within a month (I know, I shouldn’t brag, but if you knew what Oliver put me through, you would know that I deserved this gift). At two months, I was back at work full time and Maddy was in child care. We had a good routine, and I was pretty proud of myself. I might have even used the term “supermom” a few times.
At three months, I took my first trip away to one of our regional trainings in San Antonio. I try to get to a training at least once a year, and this time, I opted for our Infant Observation Training. I figured that since I was now an expert, this training would be a breeze.
I could not have been more wrong.
I spent the first day of training kicking myself for being such a crappy parent. Sure, I had our daily routines down—getting the kids off to school in the morning, prepping bottles the night before, finding fast dinners, sticking to bedtimes—but I was missing the more crucial (and painstakingly obvious) part: my interactions with my daughter. Sure, we spent a lot of time together, and some of that time was high quality: I read to her every night, I made sure we got in tummy time. But in my quest to be everything to everyone (#supermom), I was shortchanging Maddy on the interactions that really matter: the ones that lead to deep connectedness and cognitive and social growth.
I managed to drag myself back the next day, prepared for another eight hours of guilt-ridden training. But as our trainer, Cierra, helped us work through the training videos and deepened our understanding of the four dimensions, I began to have those “aha” moments that our field staff always talks about and I’ve never fully understood. I watched exemplary teachers connect with the babies in their classrooms and began to see and understand what actions they were taking and how they were getting results with the children. As the day went on, my guilt was overcome with an excitement to get home and try out some of what I was learning.
Fast forward to today, almost a month out: my interactions and relationship with Maddy have done a 180°. I started by making small changes:
Then I focused on some of the more challenging aspects:
I am by no means perfect, and I still have a long way to go, but I’ve seen a big change in the way Maddy seeks out my attention and looks to me for comfort. Sure, these changes have taken time and have cut into my productivity, but not nearly as much as I would have thought. So much of what I learned in training is about enhancing the daily interactions that I am already having with Maddy. I’m not sure that I’ve gotten my supermom status back, but unlike my Pre-K reliability test, I passed my Infant reliability test on my first attempt.
Most important, however, I have seen such a shift in my relationship with my daughter and her own growth and development. As someone who reads pretty much anything I can get my hands on—everything from Baby Center’s weekly emails to the Scary Mommy blog—attending Infant CLASS training was hands down the best parenting decision I’ve ever made.
It’s now been one year since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered school facilities and forced educators across the globe to shift how they engage learners. At Teachstone, we too made shifts to ensure we met the moment, while remaining steadfast in our commitment to improving the interactions that matter most to children’s development and success.
In today’s world, there isn’t much technology can’t do. It can help you stay connected to family and friends, keep you on track to achieving your fitness goals, and can even adjust your thermostat while you’re away from home.
And now, with myTeachstone, it can promote positive child-outcomes through facilitating on-going, meaningful, and continuous improvement efforts.
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.
Practice and feedback is the key to CLASS® success. Even the most experienced certified CLASS Observers need practice and feedback to make sure their classroom observations remain fair and accurate. The best way to provide this is to use our Calibration product. Calibration protects your investment in reliable data collection.
Online Calibrations are available for Certified CLASS observers at all 6 CLASS levels. When you purchase an individual calibration, you’ll receive a video to watch and code on your myTeachstone dashboard. After submitting your codes, you’ll get an automated score report and a prerecorded webinar discussing the master codes.