Welcome to the second month of Mother Goose Time Monday’s. I am enjoying this addition of my blog. I think it helps me feel like I do more than “play all day”.
One of the requirement for being licensed to do daycare is having to have 16 hours of training and ongoing Ed each year. Over the years, I have had many classes on the MGT topic for this month: Assessment. Many people may not think that assessment takes place in Early Childhood. Or if they do, it would only be for screening for school or if there is a “problem”. But in actuality, there has already been some assessing taken place in order for the “problem” to get additional assessment.
There are several components to assessment. This week I will discuss observation. This simply means to sit back and watch objectively. Being objective is not always easy to do. We tend to put in our opinions and thoughts into what we see instead of seeing what is actually taking place. This was the hardest part for me when learning to observe. We know our kids but when it comes to observing them we have to step back and take notes only about what we see.
Assessment can be done for many reasons. Again, we tend to only think of assessing children when we have noticed a problem or delay in development. Evaluating growth and developmental delays are only one reason. As an early childhood educator, I use assessment to determine the skill levels for an activity. This helps me decide how to adjust for each child. I also use assessment to evaluate my program so that I can see what is working and what is not. It can show a child motivations for current/future topics and discussions that can be integrated in our play. Finally, assessment helps me inform parents of the progress of their little people.
When we are doing an MGT activity, each child takes away something different. They all have different skills and abilities to contribute. This can be one of my biggest challenges in our multi-age setting. Being able to offer the same materials to all ages and yet be able to safely encourage discovery of new items. Last week we made a pig project that went with This Little Pig nursery rhyme. The older ones that had more defined fine motor control were able to punch out the pieces and add them to the pigs. The little ones needed more help. Some wanted to try it so I let them but they got frusterated when it tore. I offered my assistance and provided them other “jobs” to do to minimize frustration and encourage success at their level.
Another time I observed the babies when we were investigating some materials. The big kids used the materials to create a sheep scene with grass. The babies just loved playing with the different textures and exploring the materials. We used cotton balls and grass festoon. Same activity different results. The faces/sounds that the littlest ones made and the outcome on the pictures from the big kids were both observable examples that can be included in an assessment of skills.
MGT offers a skills continuum chart that shows skills and goals to use with observing children. They also provide a check list in the teacher guide to use each month. I am honestly, not very good at using it but it provides a guide to go by and things to look for.
If you are interested, here is a link to a good resource for further info on assessment.
One last note! I have an exciting announcement that will take place on next weeks blog! I have the opportunity to offer a drawing for free manipulatives! We love the manipulatives and soon you can enter to win them at home to play with too. Available anywhere in the USA. Stay tuned…
Thanks for reading and until next time.