Climate of Healthy Interactions for Learning & Development (CHILD)
The Climate of Healthy Interactions for Learning & Development (CHILD) Tool (Gilliam & Reyes, 2017) is a comprehensive observational assessment of the mental health (or social and emotional) climate of early care and education settings.
The mental health climate is characterized by authentic warmth and friendship, a developmentally appropriate and child-centered pedagogy, the equitable treatment of children, and a genuine interest to foster children’s psychosocial well-being and holistic development. With improved rubrics for determining quality and guidelines for calibration, observers rely less on impressions and more on discrete behavioral indicators.
As a classroom measurement tool, the CHILD is unique in the following ways:
- explicitly assesses all social interactions including staff-child, child-child, and staff-staff interactions;
- explicitly assesses verbal and nonverbal behaviors, and overt and subtle cues; and
- addresses issues of equity and inclusion.
Preliminary data obtained from Colorado, Florida, and North Carolina reveal high internal reliability for the full scale and its dimensions (Cronbach’s as between .88 to .98) and show small to moderate correlations with CLASS (Pianta, LaParo, & Hamre, 2008) dimensions (rs=.30-.50).
In a small pilot sample, the full scale and dimensions of social-emotional learning, staff awareness, and staff affect are associated with English language learners’ language proficiency scores as measured by the LAS Links (CTB/McGraw, 2007), rs>.74, p<.05 (Reyes, 2017).