Bringing the CLASS Measure Home: Observing Family Child Care Settings
The above link takes readers to a registration page through Teachstone, a company committed to connecting research-based tools with the programs that can use them to improve education practices. According to their website, the company aims to apply “what works to what matters.” Teachstone works to improve learning from birth to high school by using proven approaches to classroom observation and educator professional development. Registration is required through Teachstone in order to attend the event.
Ginny Vitiello, Research and Evaluation Director at Teachstone and webinar presenter, will provide an introduction to the CLASS measure and its relevance to family child-care settings. She will share the history of the CLASS measure and its roots in parenting literature; meaningful comparisons between classroom and family care settings; and concrete recommendations for using the CLASS system within these settings.
Curious about the CLASS measure, since I had never heard about it before receiving the notice about the webinar, I did a little delving into it on the Teachstone website. I found that I instantly liked and related to the CLASS measure since it highlights the importance of language- and relationship-based learning, just as my Operation Ready By 3 (ORB3) Infant-Toddler Curriculum is. As the ORB3 encourages parents and caregivers to observe their infants and toddlers carefully on a daily basis to encourage best development of school readiness skills, the CLASS tool focuses on using data from CLASS observations to support teachers’ unique professional development needs and to focus teachers on effective teaching strategies. The tool also helps teachers recognize and understand the power of their interactions with students as well as to use language modeling to engage support for learning. The CLASS measure focuses on interactions that support learning at the toddler level (15-26 months) as well as at the Pre-K, K-3, Upper Elementary and Secondary levels of formal education.
As the creator and developer of the ORB3, I am always happy to see other tools available that emphasize the importance of the adults in a child’s life in order for that child to reach his or her full potential. Children will develop naturally on their own to the basic level that nature has designed them, but they will not reach their full potential as human beings if they are not guided and encouraged by the adults around them. Strong, healthy adult relationships founded on accurate, appropriate and excellent language-based interactions between adult and infant or toddler are key in a child’s development. Without them, the child will face a lifetime of struggle both in school and outside of the school setting. It’s why I advocate for the United States to give parents the opportunity to be influential in their infants’ and toddlers’ lives through better maternity/paternity leave options and improved support to families during the early years of a child’s learning and development as well as for much improved quality of home- and center-based child care settings when parents must return to work.