The CORT (Caregiving Observation and Reflection Tool) provides a systematic framework to observe and document interactions and experiences that occur within a classroom. Training & Curriculum Specialists or Program Managers should use this tool to carefully observe for evidence of and document a caregiver’s use of these key practices to assess and document caregivers’ strengths and areas for growth. Refer to the CORT Rating Guide for in depth examples of ratings for each skill or practice.
Staff member is building their understanding and use of the skill.
Staff member understands the practice but is still working to consistently implement it.
Staff member demonstrates a clear understanding of the skill and implements the practice consistently.
Quality Reading Materials
Learning environment has a variety of developmentally appropriate print and reading material with a wide range of vocabulary, themes, and pictures.
Provides children with multiple opportunities to participate in reading in different and meaningful ways each day.
Book Reading Interactions
Engages with children during book reading to introduce and reinforce concepts, connect stories to children’s lives, and provoke critical thinking.
Embeds Language Support
Embeds language and literacy support throughout children’s activities and routines.
Expands on children’s sounds, words, and sentences in ways that reinforce children’s communication.
Models diverse vocabulary and ways of communicating to promote language development.
Promotes Social Emotional Learning
Communicates about actions, thoughts, and feelings to promote social-emotional development through language.
Responsive to Nonverbal Cues
Uses nonverbal communication to support language and communication and observes children’s nonverbal cues to inform own responses.
Engages with children in a warm and encouraging way (smiles, looks at, gets down on child’s level).
Uses positive guidance and communication to redirect behavior and reinforce children’s effort.
Demonstrates developmentally appropriate expectations for children’s peer interactions and facilitates growth in this area of their development.
Observes and joins children in their interests, enhancing the nature of their interactions, play, and learning.
Develops a special relationship with each child in care.
Calm and Present
Has a calm and engaged demeanor when interacting with children, coworkers, and families.
Is sensitive to and adjusts expectations when children are feeling unwell, injured, going through changes, or experiencing stressful circumstances.
Respect's children's ideas and perspectives.
Balanced & Differentiated Instruction
Understands developmental abilities of children in care and demonstrates appropriate expectations and support. Modifies activities as needed for groups of children and for individual children.
Acknowledges and celebrates diversity in an inclusive way that makes children feel special and fosters a sense of belonging.
Provides a balance of activities and experiences including caregiver vs child-directed, whole group/small group/individual, quiet activities vs collaborating activities, physically active vs sedentary.
Schedule and routines are such that children and caregivers know what to do and there are consistent expectations.
Healthy and Safe Environments
Learning environments and materials are clean and free of hazards.
Responsive to Health Needs
Observes and responds to children’s health and hygiene needs.
Demonstrates a clear system of accountability for children’s whereabouts and ratio compliance.
Reacts to conflicts, unexpected occurrences, and stressful situations in ways that minimize negative effects on children, staff, and families.
Communicates with children, families, and coworkers in a collaborative, professional way.
Follows all program policies and procedures. If certain policies and procedures are not observable, demonstrates understanding through conversations and professional learning activities.
Seeks advice from a coach, trainer, or administrator when unsure of how to respond or support a child, family, or coworker or encounters a situation that calls for someone in a leadership role to be involved.
Values Professional Growth
Responsive to professional development opportunities and support provided by a coach, trainer, or administrator.
Provides active supervision by engaging in and expanding on children’s play and learning.
Respectful of Privacy
Speaks about children, families, and staff in a confidential and respectful manner.
Caregiver communicates positively with families.
Caregiver incorporates children's families in the learning environment.
Programming Communicated to Families
The caregiver includes families when communicating about classroom and program topics and events.
Protective Factors in Place
The classroom or program includes information about family supports.