As part of Quality of ME I have to do assessments to document progress of the children developmentally. When parents become aware of this the following conversation is common.
- “What kind of tests do you do?”
- “I don’t test.”
- “How do you do assessments then?”
- “Daily observations. Developmental checklists. Samples of coloring, writing. Video/photos of speech and play.”
- “What do you do with this information?”
At that time I explain about the private eportfolios I have for each family of children not yet in school.
Collecting samples and checklists are easy to understand, but the daily observations is less clear. Here is what I consider daily observations:
Daily observations are just me watching, listening and internally comparing what I see happening within the space, between children, in different situations and gaining individual skills. To support what I’m witnessing I also take many photos and videos. (You see just a small amount shared through posts on the blog or on Facebook.) I also specifically look for skills that I expect to see developing and/or we have been working on.
What I love doing is taking what I think of as snapshots of a moment. It’s as simple as just snapping a view of the space at one time, seeing what everyone is engaged in at the same time/same place. I can then make notes about what was seen and heard.
Why are assessments like this important?
- They support the choice in routine, rules and equipment available for the child directed play.
- It helps direct materials I might add in or remove from the space.
- It leads me to research areas where I need more knowledge or want current information.
- It supports the communication between myself and parents to best provide for each child.
- It guides lessons that occur throughout our daily activities.