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
Do you have fond childhood memories of sitting with a special adult and listening to them read one of your favorite stories? I vividly remember my dad reading The Elephant’s Child by Rudyard Kipling to me and how we laughed together at the funny voices he used. As an educator, you know how important those moments are for building warm connections, enjoying time together, and learning about many things. So, even if you missed out on those moments as a child, you want to create those moments for the children in your classroom. With careful planning, you can be confident that your read-alouds will be exciting, effective learning opportunities.
As part of our Teacher Spotlight series, we recently asked the CLASS Community to nominate a teacher whose high-quality classroom interactions are making a difference for their dual language learners. Our winner, Kim Schoell, has been teaching for 20 years and is currently a Pre-K teacher in Frederick County, VA. 67% of her students are Hispanic and many of the children are dual language learners.
We were really happy to receive an article examining the use of CLASS in American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start Programs. And we were equally happy when lead author, Jessica Barnes-Najor, a researcher at Michigan State University, agreed to speak with us. In conjunction with her work at MSU, Jessica is a co-investigator for The Tribal Early Childhood Research Center (TRC). Read below to learn more about this important research.
The following is a highlight of the discussion from a recent webinar on trauma-informed strategies. You can watch the entire webinar, Interactions at the Heart of Healing – CLASS-based Strategies for Supporting Teachers and Children, which is part of our free Trauma-informed care webinar series.