As I read our latest white paper on family child care and the CLASS system, I found myself humming Sister Sledge’s hit song, "We are Family." Even though family child care (FCC) settings may differ from other child-care arrangements (and from one another), we truly are a family when it comes to the business of providing care and supporting children and families through early childhood. And the bond that ties our family together? Interactions!
When talking about FCCs, it’s often difficult to describe just what this setting looks like. At Teachstone, we define FCCs as home-based child care that is run as a business; this can include professionals who have several classrooms and employ additional caregivers, or parents who want to earn money while staying at home with their own children. Each provider’s home looks a little bit different, and although FCCs provide care to a good portion of our youngest children (about 29% of infants and 25% of toddlers receiving child-care subsidies are cared for in an FCC home), they vary in terms of number of staff, licensing and oversight, and quality. The variations are most clearly seen in:
As you might imagine, many FCC providers struggle because they operate as individuals with little opportunity to meet with peers, share ideas, learn, or receive professional-development support.
Given the number of children and families that look to FCC providers, it’s critical that we focus on supporting the quality of care provided in these home-based settings. At Teachstone, we’ve spent time observing FCC settings with our unique CLASS lens, examining what teacher-child interactions look like and brainstorming with providers about how best to offer support to improve these interactions.
Our white paper is just a starting point for these conversations. Over the next few months, I’ll be blogging about the four challenges Ginny highlights in the paper related to using the CLASS system in FCC settings. But I’ll be looking to all of you to share your questions, thoughts, and experiences on how to use the CLASS system to improve interactions in FCC settings. Please share through the comments below.
And, if you’re looking to brush up on your FCC and CLASS knowledge, be sure to check out the recording of our webinar, Bringing the CLASS Measure Home: Observing Family Child Care Settings.
To quote Sister Sledge:
Here's what we call our golden rule
Have faith in you and the things you do
Across the country and around the globe, schools/programs will soon reopen after extended closures due to COVID-19. Those that have remained open are instituting new health and safety practices.. Localities will determine whether to provide in-person, online, or hybrid teaching. Regardless of the model that schools/programs adopt, classrooms will look different now and for the foreseeable future.
In the wake of the widespread civil unrest after the killing of George Floyd, the national conversation about the inequities in the educational opportunities provided white students and students of color has been amplified. Due to racial and socioeconomic segregation, Black students, and other students of color, are more likely to attend poorly funded schools. EdBuild, a non-profit focused on fair and equitable school funding, reports that high poverty school districts that predominantly enroll children of color receive on average, $1,600 less per student than the national average. By their calculations, there is a $23,000,000,000 gap between funding for schools that primarily serve high poverty Black students and those that predominantly serve white students. Schools that predominantly serve high poverty white students, only receive $1440 less per student (EdBuild, 2019).
CLASS allows us to quantify the quality of teacher-child interactions—and that is a powerful thing. But improving child outcomes takes more than just data collection; it’s what you do with the data that really matters.
Here are 4 things you should know about using data to improve student outcomes.