Chickadees - Assessment and Planning
The Chickadees (two-year-olds) classes use an assessment tool based on the Creative Curriculum for Infants, Toddlers and Twos and also utilizes forms from the Connecticut Framework. The Family Conference, Language Sample, and the Narrative Summary forms are from the Connecticut Framework.
Purpose of Assessment
As stated in The Creative Curriculum for Infants, Toddlers and Twos, “Using the Developmental Continuum will help you observe children in the context of everyday routines and experiences. You will be able to assess each child’s current level of development and to think about likely next steps. Then you can plan for each child and the group. As you learn about each child’s strengths, interests, and developmental timetable, you can use the information and strategies in The Creative Curriculum to build responsive relationships and to offer experiences that promote each child’s development and learning.”
Assessment Procedures and Timelines
On a weekly basis two objectives from The Creative Curriculum are chosen to focus the planning of activities and observations of the children. The room and activities are then set up to help the teachers naturally observe the children’s development. The teacher uses the observations to fill out the Twos Profile, which includes the Narrative Form describing child’s strengths and growth, areas that need strengthening and the child’s interests and passions. As with the Hummingbirds, Robins, and Woodpeckers, this portion of the form can be filled out with the families. This is then shared with the families in the final conference of the year. Photos are also included to help demonstrate the information included in the profile.
Family Conferences and Ongoing Communication
The conferences are used for sharing information between families and teachers. It is a time for the teachers to use the assessment to help families learn about their child’s developmental progress and learning. The lead teacher begins the family connection by making a home visit if the family would like to take advantage of the opportunity. The purpose of the fall conference is "getting to know you". The families and the teachers share information about the child and fill out the Family Conference Form together. We will also 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. The Developmental Continuum from The Creative Curriculum is shared with the parents at this time.
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.
At the second conference in the winter the lead teacher shares the Language Sample Form. We have found that at this time the children’s language has begun to blossom.
At the spring conference the teacher shares the Child Profile Form that is based on The Creative Curriculum development goals and objectives continuum. A copy of this form is also included in the Parent Handbook.
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 Hummingbirds, Robins, and Woodpeckers, 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 a locked cabinet in the preschool office. A permission slip allowing the director, lead teachers, health care consultan,t 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 works 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 Assessment Procedures for Cirriculum, 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 class and individual children, child- and teacher-directed activities, and the play environment.
The Twos 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 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 of this 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 covers all of the areas that the teachers need to observe and check in order to plan for both individual and classroom growth and learning.