Claire  Bainer Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Claire Bainer

BlueSkies for Children

Claire Bainer takes pleasure in sharing her decades of experience translating theory into classroom practice, with a particular focus on four- and five-year-old children. Her MA in Early Childhood, coupled with her reflections and inquiries into the growth and development of young children’s minds, have resulted in a wealth of information for teachers who wish to deepen their understanding and effectiveness while working with this transitional age.


Prior to her contributions to The Bridge to School: Aligning Teaching with Development for Ages Four to Six, Claire Bainer co-authored Second Home: A Day in the Life of a Model Early Childhood Program (2007, Redleaf Press) which is accompanied by a DVD, and has collaborated in the production of the following teacher training videos and study guides: Foundations for Relationship: Quality Infant Care (2013), Literacy in the Preschool Years (2010), Beyond the Curriculum (2003), and Growing through Play (1991).

Claire has been the Co-Director of BlueSkies for Children, an NAEYC Accredited program, since 1995. She has 40 years of experience as a teacher and director in full-day programs for children under 5. In addition, she teaches occasional classes as an adjunct professor in the Child Development programs at Mills College and Chabot College. She has been a fellow of the Eureka Foundation, and held several positions of leadership on the Alameda County Child Care Planning Council Steering Committee and the Early Mental Health Systems Group. She also sits on the Early Childhood Education Programs council at the University of California, Berkeley. Claire holds an MA in Early Childhood Development from Mills College.  

Claire is passionate about helping parents and teachers meet the needs of young children, particularly older pre-schoolers and five-year-olds, with a focus on developing the healthy social-emotional foundations that will serve them both in elementary school and throughout their lives. When California introduced Transitional Kindergarten (TK) as a new grade level, Claire was asked to work with the teachers in the Oakland Unified School District to develop appropriate play-based curriculum plans for their new TK classrooms, which led to the publication of The Bridge to School.

Claire’s years of classroom experience strongly influence her adult teaching, as she has a clear understanding of classroom and family dynamics as well as the academic theories that pertain to work with young children.  Understanding what drives children’s behavior forms the foundation for her practical knowledge about how to work effectively with those behaviors. She shares a unique blend of information and technique which she credits to her thorough early training with master teachers at Mills College and the Griffin School, as well as all she has learned through 40 years of teaching, parenting two children, and now enjoying the more removed experience of watching her children raise children. Her ability to help teachers and parents understand the developmental drives of young children opens them up to learning how to work effectively with the sometimes-challenging behaviors that accompany typical growth and development. This essential information about how children learn in the early years has been neglected as schools have become more focused on immediate results; bringing it back into the discussion about effective education makes a real difference in children’s lives.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Child Development
    Articulating Complex Early Childhood Concepts
    Nonprofit Management
    Early Mental Health Information and Play Therapy
    Adult Education

Personal Interests

    Art and Creativity
    Human Spirituality studies
    Avid Reader
    Human growth and development
    Reflective Personal Growth


Featured Title
 Featured Title - The Bridge to School *Hale et al* - 1st Edition book cover


Young Children, Vol. 55 #4

From Diapers to Underpants

Published: Jul 01, 2000 by Young Children, Vol. 55 #4
Authors: Claire Bainer and Liisa hale
Subjects: Education, Family Studies, Psychological Science

Theoretical and practical information about helping young children learn to use the toilet.