Posted on 09/21/2012 at 07:55 AM by Global Reach

Everyday young children participate in classrooms activities and experiences to support their growth and development. These classrooms are complex places in which young children explore materials, engage in learning activities and interact with other children as well as learn to be independent in their own self-care. Every early childhood environment in complex, because it is be a place where teachers use their knowledge of children and content to organize an environment that connects  curriculum, instruction and assessment.  In . CLASS, which is a research-based classroom observation tool for preschool through third grade classrooms, classrooms are observed to look at 2 major domain areas: Emotional Support, Classroom Organization, and Instructional Support. The 3 classroom quality domains have an impact on the fourth domain of student outcomes (student engagement).

Emotional Support centers on children’s social and emotional functioning in the classroom and is affected by dimensions of teachers setting a positive climate) or a negative climate), teacher sensitivity (response to academic and/or emotional needs), and regard for student perspective (teacher interactions with students and classroom activities).  The underlying premise is that a teacher’s abilities to support social and emotional functioning in a classroom are central to the effectiveness of classroom practices.

Classroom Organization is a domain of the classroom processes used to organize and manage student behavior, time and attention in a classroom experience.  This concept focuses on concept that classrooms operate best when children are engaged, activities are consistent and available for children, and children are well behaved. The basic information suggests that students will do better in well-regulated, predictable, consistent environments.

Instructional Support focuses on the distinction between simply learning facts and gaining usable knowledge AND an environment which supports children learning knowledge that allows children to scaffold new knowledge, through hands-on experiences, upon previous knowledge and make connections. In a high quality supportive environment, teachers use instructional strategies to build concept development, provide student feedback and facilitate children’s learning by encouraging children’s language skills.

These domains, along with focus on student outcomes, make up the CLASS tool, which measures the high quality of each individual classroom.  The CLASS tool can be used as an actual observation of what is happening in a classroom or the components can be shared as part of a professional development model that allows teachers to use information about the domains and dimensions as ways to develop a more high quality early childhood program.

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