(Age Three to Five)
Ongoing assessment of children in an early childhood program is the key to planning appropriate early childhood learning experiences and helping all children succeed. At Earthplace Preschool, we:
- observe and monitor each child's progress related to curricular goals and performance standards
- support curriculum development and planning that promote children's learning and development by teachers and families
- organize and mutually share information between families and program staff
- share information with receiving teachers and to support effective transitions
The process is as follows.
Purpose of Assessments
As stated in the introduction to the Connecticut Preschool Assessment Framework: “The primary purposes of the Connecticut Preschool Assessment Framework are to:
observe and monitor each child’s progress related to curricular goals and performance standards; support curriculum development and planning that promote children’s learning and development by teachers and families;
organize and mutually share information between families and program staff members; and
share information with receiving teachers and to support effective transitions.”
Assessment Procedures and Timelines
Two to three Performance Standards are chosen from the Performance Standards Flip Chart on a weekly basis. The flip chart encompasses the areas of Personal and Social, Physical, Cognitive, and Creative development. Benchmarks spanning the ages two and a half to six years are listed for each area. The chosen Performance Standards are listed on the Planning Form. Activities that would involve helping to encourage these developmental standards are planned for the room and listed on both the Planning Form and then on the Weekly Calendar.
The Planning Form is posted for parents to see on both the Classroom Parent Board and on our website. During the week the teachers make notes to observe individual children and indicate at which benchmark the child is presently developing. These notes are then placed in each child’s Profile Book. The class as a whole is also profiled on the Class Profile page.
These benchmarks are then revisited twice during the year. The teacher bases the activities chosen on the need to help children progress in all areas.
Uses of Assessments
Family Conferences and Ongoing Communication with Families
The conferences are used for sharing information between families and teachers.The teacher uses the assessment to help families understand their child’s developmental progress and learning.
In the fall, the teachers meet with parents who share information about their child. At this time a Family Conference Form is filled out, and the goals that the families and teachers want to work on with the child are listed on the form. We will be discussing with you any information that you would like to share with us, such as family customs, languages spoken at home, and preferred child-rearing practices. This will help in planning for your child each day at school. We are also interested in learning more about your child's interests, approaches to learning, and developmental needs. Also at this time the assessment procedures are shared with the families. A copy of the Child Profile form is included online.
The Child Profile includes all of the performance standards in the Assessment Framework. In addition, on the back of the form there is a Narrative Summary that indicates the child’s strengths and growth, areas that need strengthening, and the child’s interests and passions. This can be filled out with the help of the families during the conferences.
The information that we gather about the children through conferences, phone conversations, and email with our families is used to adapt the envrionment, the curriculum, and teaching methods to the children and families that our school serves.
In the winter all families meet again with the lead teacher, and the first assessment as described on the Child Profile is shared with the parents.
In the spring there is a third conference. At this time the families and the teachers again discuss how the child is developing by looking at the Child’s Profile. The Woodpeckers and Robins teachers also share the Transition to Kindergarten form. For several towns in this area this form is linked to the Connecticut Assessment Framework.
Although conferences are planned during the day, teachers can be available to meet either before or directly after school hours to accommodate family schedules.
Conditions Under Which Children are Assessed
Children in all of the classes are assessed while at play. By setting up the environment and activities in accordance with Performance Standards in the Juniors, Seniors and Fives or the Learning Objectives (The Creative Curriculum) in the Chickadees, chosen for that week the teachers can observe the children as they play and learn.
The Child Profile is kept in the child’s file in the Preschool Office, which is in a locked cabinet. A permission slip allowing the director, lead teachers, health care consultant, and regulatory licensing agencies access to this file is signed by parents.
Referral of Children to a Developmental Screening or Diagnostic Assessment
When families and teachers agree that a child needs further screening or assessment, the staff work with the families to achieve consensus about assessment methods and developmental screenings which would best meet the child’s needs. If the child is under three years of age then the school informs the family about Connecticut Birth to Three System. If the child is close to over three years of age, then one recommendation is to contact the family’s public school system. All school systems in the area have screening processes. Other options are the Early Childhood Consultation Partnership and private service providers. Our Social Worker has also been successful in referring parents to other providers of screenings and assessments.
Using the Assesment Procedures
Planning Curriculum, Adapting Teaching Practices and the Environment
The Hummingbirds, Robins, Woodpeckers, and Falcons teachers use the information gained from observing the individual children and entering their information into the Class Profile in order to plan the curriculum for the whole child, individual children, child and teacher directed activities, and the play environment.
The Chickadees teachers do the same by looking at where the children in their classroom are on the Creative Curriculum Developmental Continuum.
Planning Program Improvement
By observing the changes in the Class Profile for the Falcons, Woodpeckers, Hummingbirds, Robins, and Chickadees during the school year the teachers can see in which areas the classes are progressing, and in which areas they are not. Aspects of the program can be improved by sharing this information with the director during the year and particularly by planning for the next year.
Use of Informal Checklists, Observations, Rating Scales and Work Samplings
Teachers design their own informal means of assessing the development and learning that is occurring in their classroom. They can monitor both individual and class progress. Some examples are: The teacher may observe which children are playing together, how many children are using the book area, what children know about birds, and what they learned about them after studying birds for two weeks. For the most part, however, the Connecticut Preschool Assessment Program and the Creative Curriculum Program for Infants, Toddlers & Twos cover all of the areas that the teachers need to observe and check in order to plan for both individual and classroom growth and learning.