Community Forum: “Relationships with Children Matter” Recap

March 26, 2015

The third segment of our “What Matters Most” Community Forum was held on March 24th at the Chapman Cultural Center. We were delighted that over 45 parents, childcare teachers, and local educators took the time to come and learn about how effective teacher-child interactions are an active and crucial ingredient for children’s social and academic development.

Our keynote speaker was Sedra Spano, M. ED., a Regional Director at Teachstone where she works with states in the southeast regarding their use of the CLASS and CLASS-based professional development. Sedra explained to the audience how research using the CLASS Assessment provides compelling evidence about the nature of teacher-child interaction in ECE settings and the ways in which these interactions promote children’s social and academic development.

The 4 overarching conclusions emerging from this research are:

  • Effective teacher-child interactions are an active and crucial ingredient for children’s social and academic development
  • Children in ECE settings are not consistently exposed to effective teacher-child interactions
  • To maximize the impact for children, quality improvement efforts need to focus explicitly on teacher-child interactions
  • Carefully designed and implements professional development support can improve the quality of teacher-child interactions

Following Sedra’s talk, she was joined by a panel of early childhood experts including Dawn Huntley (Strategic Innovations, CEO); Leigh Kale D’Amico, Ph.D. (University of South Carolina, College of Education Assistant Professor); and Terry Pruitt, Ph.D. (Spartanburg County School District 7, Deputy Superintendent); for a lively discussion about why effective interactions between children and their teachers matter and make a difference.

Thank you so much to our keynote speaker and panel participants for sharing their time and knowledge of Early Childhood Development with us. And a special thank you to the community members who made time to hear about “what matters most” in the development of their children’s lives!