Can we talk about structure? When CLASS® entered my life, I was 20 years into my career in the field of early childhood education. What I remember most about that initial training, besides the nervousness about an impending reliability test, was a sense of relief. Structure, including state and program standards, curriculum, materials in the classroom, and approaches to childcare and pedagogy, had dominated my working hours. CLASS was a lot to learn, but for me, it was a breath of fresh air. Observing with CLASS meant I could set aside my obsession with all things structural, which encompassed my thoughts every time I walked into an early childhood classroom.
New research from the nonprofit, LENA, suggests that babies born since the pandemic started are talking less and experiencing fewer conversational turns than babies born before COVID. This supports other studies that show that COVID-era babies are experiencing developmental delays and may impact their school readiness as as they get older. So, what does this mean for educators? And, how can we support these infants and toddlers with their language development?
Today starts the kick-off to another Week of the Young Child! While I, and I know others at Teachstone, feel strongly that young children, their educators, and their families deserve to be celebrated every day, we’re excited to have an opportunity to intentionally highlight the impact you have on young children, celebrate the rapidly developing brains of young children, and recognize that each day, even beyond this week, offers ample opportunities for meaningful interactions.
We recently hosted the Baby Talk: Building Relationships with Infants and Toddlers webinar with Becky Danis, Responsive Solutions Developer at Teachstone, and Monica Pujol-Nassif, Senior CLASS® Specialist. In this webinar, you’ll learn about the importance of brain development and the optimal ways for early childhood educators to interact with infants and toddlers in their care.
The CLASS Learning Community is a community of teachers, observers, education leaders, and other educators dedicated to helping every child reach their full potential by measuring and improving classroom interactions.
The CLASS Learning Community is a great place to connect with others in the early education field. Members enjoy:
What’s the best way to teach empathy to an infant, toddler, or preschool aged child?
Joanna Parker joins the Teaching with CLASS® podcast to answer that question. Joanna has spent her entire career in early care and education. She’s worked with Head Start, Early Head Start, child care, early intervention, public PreK, and home visitation programs at the local, community, state, and national levels.
Joanna explains that defining empathy in early childhood is all about understanding social-emotional development. Children will not display empathy the way adults do because they are still developing social-emotional skills. But educators can instill foundational skills for children to build upon as they mature.
So, you’re dual-certified on the Infant and Toddler CLASS® tools. Congrats! Not only can you observe in Infant classrooms (birth to 18 months) and Toddler classrooms (15 to 36 months), but you can also observe in classrooms that contain a mix of the two age levels. If you are observing in a classroom with three age levels, as there often are in Family Day Homes, check out this guidance.
Observing in mixed age classrooms may seem daunting, but it’s completely doable. If you’re preparing to do Infant/Toddler CLASS observations, read on to get solutions to three of the most common challenges when observing in a mixed-age setting.
Together, Sara and Michelle provided tips for helping educators dig deeper in their interactions and feel more confident in their teaching practice. Before diving into the tips for building confidence and consistency, Michelle shared a powerful quote from Lori Archer, a Head Start teacher:
Meltdowns and tantrums in the classroom can be a frustrating experience for both the educator and child. It's important for teachers to support children through their development of essential social and emotional capabilities.