After much anticipation on November 1, Teachstone and Brookes Publishing, announced the upcoming release of their Infant CLASS observation tool for infant. While the tool is being released in April, training for trainers has been under way for almost a year. New trainings for Infant CLASS reliability will be scheduled throughout the nation and are available upon request from a Teachstone trainer. Tools and resources are in the process of being developed and tested so they are available upon the tool’s release.
There are a numerous ways to assess the learning environments of young children. Most of focus primarily on preschool and early elementary environments with only a few that focus on infant and toddler programs. Many assessments have a wide variety of indicators a program is rated on including classroom set-up as well as programming. The Preschool CLASS focuses a little differently on the interactions in the classroom that support school readiness skills. While many aspects are similar, an I/T program has a different focus on nurturing and social/emotional skills. This is also the main focus of the Infant CLASS.
The Infant CLASS is set up with one overarching domain and four dimensions on which an infant-toddler environment is assessed on.
- Relational Climate represents the overall relationship quality of the caregiver interactions with the infants and other adults in the classroom.
- Teacher Sensitivity encompasses the caregivers’ awareness of, and responsibility to, infants’ verbal and nonverbal cues, availability to provide comfort, and resolve distress.
- Facilitated Exploration considers how the caregiver facilitates the experiences and interactions that support infants’ cognitive development and engagement.
- Early Language Support considers caregivers’ efforts to provide language-facilitation techniques that encourage infants’ early language acquirement.
These dimensions assess the the moment to moment interactions that occur in an infant classroom. Within these interactions, young children learn a variety of skills including very important school readiness skills.