Classroom Arrangement. Objectives (Milestones of Child Development)

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1 Early Childhood Instructional Expectations *Portions adapted from the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) and the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS) This document is a compilation of some of the expectations found in quality early childhood programs. It is divided into three primary areas which include the physical environment, instructional essentials seen throughout the day, and specific components of the day. Teachers can use this tool when designing and implementing their programs. Parents can use these expectations when seeking quality early childhood programs for their children. These expectations align with the Virginia Star Quality Rating and Improvement System for early childhood programs. Classroom Arrangement Child-related display Lesson Plans Objectives (Milestones of Child Development) Frequent conversations Back-and-forth exchanges Contingent responding Peer conversation Open-Ended Questions Questions require more than a one-word response Students respond Repetition and Extension Repeats Extends/elaborates Self- and Parallel Talk Narrates own actions Narrates student actions Environment Room is organized, safe, and clean with well defined centers and with tables incorporated into the learning centers: Manipulatives, Books Listening, Construction [e.g. blocks], Computers, Dramatic Play, Art, Sand/ Water. There are also small and large group gathering areas. Literacy, math, nature/science and drawing (writing- kindergarten) should be evident throughout the room. Children s work predominates the environment and relates closely to recent or current activities and to the children from the class. Child created work, including three-dimensional, is displayed at children s eye level. Lesson plans are visible in the room. The daily plans should be intentionally created to meet individual children and group needs. Responsibilities (roles and activities) are identified for the teacher and the paraprofessional. Child-friendly objectives are visible in the classroom. The teacher includes these objectives as part of the review of the daily schedule. EARLY CHILDHOOD INSTRUCTIONAL ESSENTIALS Language Modeling There are frequent conversations in the classroom between adults and children and between children. Both adult-initiated and child-initiated conversations occur throughout the day. The adults ask many open-ended questions. The adults often repeat or extend the children s responses. The adults consistently narrate their own actions and the children s actions through language and description. 1

2 Advanced Language Variety of words Connected to familiar words and/or ideas Encourage children to communicate Use language to develop reasoning skills Informal use of language Scaffolding Hints Assistance * Refer to hand-out on scaffolding Feedback Loops Back-and-forth exchanges Persistence by teacher Follow-up questions Prompting Thought Processes Asks students to explain thinking Queries responses and actions Providing Information Expansion Clarification Specific Feedback Encouragement and Affirmation Recognition Reinforcement Student persistence Effective Facilitation Teacher involvement Effective questioning Expanding children s involvement The adults often use advanced language with the children. Language-Reasoning Adults balance listening and talking appropriately for age and abilities of the children during communication activities. Adults link children s spoken language to experiences or activities. Adults encourage children to reason throughout the day, using actual events and experiences as a basis for concept development. Concepts are introduced in response to children s interests or needs to solve problems. Adults have individual conversations with most of the children. Children are asked questions to encourage them to give longer and more complex answers. Quality of Feedback The adults routinely scaffold for children who are having a hard time understanding a concept, answering a question, or completing an activity. There are frequent feedback loop (back-and-forth) exchanges between the adults and the children. The adults frequently query the children or verbally prompt the children to explain their thinking and rationale for responses and actions (ex. Tell me more. ) The adults frequently provide additional information to expand on children s understanding or actions. The adults frequently offer encouragement of the children s efforts that increases the children s involvement and persistence. Instructional Learning Formats The adults actively facilitate the children s engagement in activities and lessons to encourage participation and expand involvement. 2

3 Variety of Modalities and Materials Range of auditory, visual, and movement opportunities Interesting and creative materials Hands-on opportunities Student Interest Active participation Listening Focused attention Clarity of Learning Objectives Advanced organizers Summaries Reorientation statements Analysis and Reasoning Why and/or how questions Problem solving Prediction/experimentation Classification/comparison Evaluation Creating Brainstorming Planning Producing Integration Connect concepts Integrates with previous knowledge Connections to the Real World Real-world applications Related to students lives Greeting/Departure The adults use a variety of modalities (including auditory, visual, and movement) and a variety of materials to effectively interest children and gain their participation during activities and lessons. Children are consistently interested and involved in activities and lessons. The adults effectively focus the children s attention toward learning objectives and/or the purpose of the lesson. Concept Development The adults frequently use discussions and activities that encourage analysis and reasoning. The adults typcially provide opportunities for the children to be creative and/or generate their own ideas and products. The adults consistently link concepts and activities to one another and to previous learning. The adults consistently relate concepts to the children s actual lives. COMPONENTS OF THE DAY Arrival/Departure Adults help children when they arrive to become involved in activities, if needed. Children are busily involved until departure. Adults use greeting and departure as brief information sharing time with parents when present. 3

4 Group Gathering (Morning Meeting) Center Management System Room Arrangement for Play (Centers) Facilitated, Child-Focused Play Fine Motor Small building toys such as interlocking blocks and Lincoln logs; art materials such as crayons and scissors, manipulatives such as beads of different sizes for stringing, pegs and pegboards, sewing cards; and puzzles. Book and Pictures Math/number (Evident throughout the day) Music/ Movement (Evident throughout the day) Art (Process Oriented) Group Gathering The adults provide a positive, child-centered, and predictable start to the day. There are opportunities for the children to actively participate in a friendly greeting and be informed of the schedule and expectations (e.g., greeting, pledge/moment of silence, musical activity, attendance, counting boys/girls, time concepts [calendar- kindergarten], review of a visual of daily schedule, planning). Adults facilitate language, vocabulary, and concept development throughout this time. Centers (Available for a substantial portion of the day.) All centers are labeled with words and pictures. There are places for children's name tags. Interest centers are defined and provide a variety of learning experiences. Centers are organized for independent use (e.g., labeling, see-through containers) and are well equipped. Quiet areas are separated from noisy areas. Spaces for play are accessible to children with disabilities. Facilitated, child-focused play occurs for a substantial portion of the day both indoors and outdoors, weather permitting. New materials/experiences for child-initiated play are added regularly. Materials of different levels of difficulty are rotated to maintain interest. Containers and accessible storage shelves have labels to encourage independence in using each type of material. Materials are well organized, complete, and in good condition. A wide selection of books are accessible. Books and language materials are rotated to maintain interest, including books relating to current classroom activities or themes. Books are organized in a reading center. Books, language materials, and activities are appropriate for the children in the group. Adults read books to children individually and in large groups. Adults emphasize math/number concepts daily. Developmentally appropriate materials of various types are accessible. Materials are well organized and in good condition. Daily activities are used to promote math/number concepts. Music is available as both a free choice and group activity daily and during transitions from one activity to another. Creativity is encouraged with musical activities. Music materials are accessible for children s use. Various types of music are used with the children. Art activities are related to other classroom experiences. Three-dimensional art (e.g. clay, playdough, wood gluing, carpentry) materials are available for children s use. Provisions are made for children to extend art activities over several days. Appropriate exploration of art materials is encouraged. 4

5 Blocks Sand/water Dramatic Play Nature/Science Meals At least two types of blocks and a variety of accessories are accessible daily. Blocks and accessories are stored on open, labeled shelves. Some block play is available outdoors. Enough space, blocks, and accessories are accessible for three or more children to build at the same time. Blocks and accessories are organized according to type. A special block area is set aside out of traffic, with storage and suitable building surface. The block area is accessible for play for a substantial part of the day. Sand and water play are available both indoors and outdoors. Different activities are done with sand and water. A variety of toys are accessible for play. The dramatic play area is clearly defined, with space to play and organized storage. Dramatic play materials are accessible, including dress-up clothes. Materials are rotated to reflect current classroom theme(s). Props are provided to represent diversity and to provide for active dramatic play outdoors. Pictures, stories, and trips are used to enrich dramatic play. Nature/science materials are well organized and in good condition. Everyday events are used as a basis for learning about nature/science (e.g. talking about the weather, observing insects and birds, discussing change of seasons, blowing bubbles or flying kites on a windy day, watching snow melt and freeze). Children are encouraged to bring in natural items to share with others or to add to collections. Meals Adults sit with children during meals and group snacks. There is a pleasant social atmosphere with conversation. Children help during meals/snacks. Child-sized serving utensils are used by children to make self-help easier. Meals and snacks are times for conversation. Children are encouraged to eat independently. Children with disabilities are included at tables with peers. 5

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