Editor’s Note: There are several ways to approach coding in a mixed-age setting. Teachstone’s official recommendation when observing in multi-age settings is to alternate between two age levels in order to capture the experiences of most children and produce independent scores between the age levels. That being said, we are interested in hearing how other organizations approach observations. Which approach you choose depends on lots of factors, like the purpose of the observation, and time or money constraints.
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! Observing in mixed age classrooms may seem daunting, but I’m here to tell you that it’s completely doable. If you’re preparing to do Infant/Toddler CLASS observations, read on. This blog presents solutions to three of the most common challenges dual Infant/Toddler observers face when observing in a mixed-age setting.
The rapid pace of human development in the first three years of life requires teachers and caregivers to be nimble. Whether a family member or teacher, you must be on your toes to effectively support a baby’s development, constantly gauging the child’s needs and changing your approach to meet those needs. With all this change occurring, how do we ensure that consistent, high quality care is provided during this critical time period, in which brain development profoundly impacts success later in life? Thankfully, we now have a plethora of brain science to understand the implications of the quality of experiences, like this excellent report from the Institute for Child Success.
The CLASS tool measures interactions in classrooms serving infants through high school students. That’s quite a span—and also why there are six different tools tailored to each age level. So what links these different tools? That’s where a fancy-pants term comes in: heterotypic continuity.
I’m very excited to go to the Zero to Three National Training Institute next week in Texas. I’ve never been before, and I hear that it’s an energizing and inspiring conference. I’m especially excited for Nathan Fox’s plenary session on the developing brain. Dr. Fox is an amazing researcher who studies temperament and individual differences in infancy.