We often hear people asking about conducting CLASS observations during mealtimes. What kinds of interactions can be observed while children are just eating? Turns out—there are many examples of high-quality interactions during breakfast or lunch. Let's focus first on the Emotional Support CLASS domain.
If you’ve ever been to a CLASS training, you’ve probably seen a graph showing a sort of “state of the union” for CLASS scores, the range of scores in each domain that we typically see in pre-K to third grade classrooms across the country. The peak of the curve for Emotional Support sits proudly right between mid and high quality. Classroom Organization is not too far behind it, on the high side of mid. But the Instructional Support curve looks like a sad little turtle in the race to high quality, smack dab in the low range. You can see this in the graph below which shows the average CLASS scores in Head Start pre-K classrooms.
I started out thinking I would write about how CLASS can help children who have challenging behavior, and then the thought occurred: that while yes indeed, I am helping children with difficult behaviors, I’m actually using CLASS to take away the focus from the child having the challenging behavior and instead, placing it on the teacher who sets the environment for the child.
The first day of preschool can be as exciting as it is challenging for a young child. While they may not be able to articulate it clearly, children likely have thoughts, concerns and questions such as:
Through daily language interactions, bilingual parents permanently shape their young children’s cultural understanding by embracing not one, but two cultures. Adapting to a second culture isn’t easy for anyone—especially young children, as their language skills are still developing.
It's not uncommon for teachers in early education to need to strike a balance between following children's leads and sticking to the classroom schedule. Intentional teachers are aware of their responsibility to assess student progress, understand skill mastery, and plan accordingly to provide opportunities for children to grow. However, many times, as teachers begin a specific teacher-directed activity, it is unsettling when students begin to veer from the step-by-step plans the teacher has worked hard to implement.
Many of the teachers I have had the pleasure of interviewing have talked about the challenges they face in the classroom like guiding and managing behavior or maintaining enthusiasm for their work. Tracy Howard, our August Teacher of the Month talked about another challenge she ran into—a classroom full of children who didn’t speak English—and how she worked through it.
Sandra Copes has been a Head Start Teacher in Harrison County, Kentucky for over 25 years. Her coach, Ms. Vickie, recommended Sandra because, “Working with Sandra is a pleasure. She is open to suggestions and is very thoughtful about how things play out in the classroom. She is the first to try new ideas and help other teachers. Her enthusiasm is contagious and makes us all better.”
This month, we’re featuring Maria Fuentes, a preschool teacher at Faith Early Learning Center in Ohio. When her coach Rozlyn nominated her, she wrote that Maria, “exhibits a true love of children which is observed in her daily interactions with them.”
Maria supports dual language learners (DLL) and talked to me about how she got into teaching, what is so critical about supporting DLL, and how she thinks about CLASS in conjunction with other assessment and monitoring tools.