Posted on 10/23/2013 at 07:17 AM by Global Reach
How do I know what children are learning and doing? How does this impact what I am planning each day in my classroom? These are just a few questions preschool teachers should be asking themselves as they plan for their daily classroom routines and activities. In a joint position statement, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) along with the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education (NAECS/SDE) have answered questions about the process of connecting curriculum, assessment and program evaluation to what happens or should happen in early childhood classrooms. This position statement strongly links effective strong curriculum to ongoing assessment and program evaluation. With all the calls for greater accountability in preschool, it becomes more essential that teachers be more aware of the benefits of assessments that are linked to sound decision-making about teaching and learning. It also becomes increasingly important that teachers use data to identify concerns that may require interventions for children in need.
Every day teachers walk into their classrooms and begin to gather a wide variety of information about each individual child. The data includes information about how children use numbers (Mathematics), how they recognize and understand letters (Literacy), what language/literacy skills are being used (Language), how children know and operate with other people (Social/Emotional), if they can work independently (Self-Help), if they are able to care for their own needs of pouring drinks, washing hands, getting dressed, etc.(Self-care/Adaptive), and if they can maneuver around their environment to get to materials (large motor) and handle small materials (fine motor). Assessment data includes observations, parent report, actual materials (paintings, drawings, photos of child work), screenings, etc. All of this information allows a teacher the chance to “paint a broad picture” of a child. This broad picture, when gathered from multiple sources, provides teachers with a chance to be more effective in their planning and provision of appropriate classroom experiences. Assessment data, when used INTENTIONALLY, assures that teachers can and do have experiences organized in interest areas or in studies/projects that give many options for children to continue to grow and develop.
It is important to create an ongoing conversation as classroom teams and/or partners with parents and administrators, in order to begin to use assessment as a means to ensure that ongoing decision making about children really does address each and every child’s needs. So, teachers, keep observing, keep discussing, keep planning based on what you know about children (how they grow and what they are learning)! It makes you INTENTIONAL!