When I first learned about CLASS Group Coaching—a training for early childhood professionals about building relationships with children—I was more than a little interested. This, I thought. This is what teaching is all about. It seems to be an obvious concept, but once we dig deeper, we are able to identify the whys and hows of our interactions. CLASS Group Coaching allows us to identify the benefits of our classroom relationships with our students and helps us be intentional in our daily practices. It allows us to utilize each moment we have with our students to deepen our understanding of their perspectives and genuinely connect with them as people. It helps us see the world from their view and guide their learning in a way that is relevant to them.
Providing this professional development opportunity for my staff has allowed us to share our experiences and grow as a team. It has allowed us to share the same platform to strive for the same outcomes and support each other along the way. During our weekly sessions, my teachers have shared their successes and identified their areas of desired growth—and have been met with supportive discussion from their peers. I have seen my teachers develop deeper, more intentional relationships with each other as they commit to strengthening their relationships with the children in their care. This has been exciting to witness and be a part of.
Here are the top five things I wish I’d known before I started:
Guest blog written by Amanda Naylor. Amanda is a CLASS Group Coaching Coach and Early Childhood Program Director at The Acorn School in Boulder, Colorado.
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Imagine classrooms filled with children who are comfortable taking risks, sharing ideas, and working cooperatively with their peers. Can this become the norm in classrooms across the nation? Yes, because this is what consistent and effective Teacher Sensitivity (TS) cultivates in the classroom. Research tells us that teachers who are aware of and respond to each child, supportively facilitate the ability of all children in the classroom to explore actively and learn.
If you've ever been through a CLASS Observation training, you are probably familiar with the graphic below. Research tells us that improving teacher-child interactions is a process that includes many pieces.
The first step is to identify a teacher’s strengths and opportunities for growth, which can be done through a CLASS observation. Once you have this data, you can share it with teachers through a formal report, a face-to-face conference, or a feedback session. You’re off to a great start, but now what?
Educators learning about CLASS® are asked to narrate their actions and sportscast their children’s experiences in order to support and encourage healthy language development. Hearing this, many may wonder, “Will people think I’m weird if I start talking to myself in the classroom?”
The answer is no. Self- and parallel talk are beneficial strategies for educators to engage in because they strengthen language rich environments and enhance vocabulary development, all while supporting effective relationship building between teachers and children.