Assessment in Early Childhood

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Assessment in Early Childhood What is the purpose of assessment in early childhood?

Assessment is a hot topic in education! What is the purpose of assessment in early childhood? Assessment has three purposes:

1. Adapting the curriculum based to each child’s level…

Kindergarten children enter school at many different learning levels. Kindergarten teachers are responsible for recognizing each child’s past experiences, maturational level, and developmental route. As previously stated, the first purpose of assessment is to adapt the curriculum and activities based on each child’s developmental level. For example, a kindergarten classroom is divided into three groups: above grade level, on grade level, and below grade level. During guided reading each group is assigned a different book based on each group’s developmental level.

2. Observe each child’s learning throughout the curriculum…

A one-size-fits-all approach to teaching young children is not appropriate. Each child is unique and learns differently therefore observation is critical for children to succeed to their fullest potential. For example, create a portfolio for each child. Each portfolio could consist of pictures, artwork, and classroom activities done throughout the year.

3. Classify children who are at risk…

The third purpose of assessment helps classify children who not succeeding, at risk for academic failure, learning disability, or special education service. This part of the assessment can be difficult because some children are developmental delayed. Ongoing assessment and intervention is key for at risk children. In America, you would collaborate with a schools special needs teacher to help meet the needs of at risk children, but Cambodia does not have a special needs program. Cambodia lacks in special education and it’s hard to find the resources to assist them. Trust me, this will be one of the most difficult parts of your job.

My Personal Experience…

While I was teaching kindergarten in Cambodia, I had a five-year old girl in my classroom and she may have been borderline autistic.  Assessment in Early Childhood Of course this is only my personal opinion because Cambodian children are not tested or labeled for learning disabilities. And not only did the language barrier make it difficult, but also lack of resources made it almost impossible to help this child. She would refuse to do her work, hit other children, scream, and refuse to follow directions.  However, as the months passed we became very close and I began to understand how to meet her needs. By the end of the year she was one of my favorite students and over time we  built a strong relationship as she began to show improvement in all areas of development. Thus, my initial thoughts about being autistic changed, the only issue was that she needed personalized attention as she was learning at a different rate than her classmates.

Below are some helpful suggestions on how to assist children with a behavior or learning disability.

  • Encourage the child
  • Give positive guidance
  • Verbal prompting
  • Adapt your level of questioning
  • Use “I messages” (I need you to sit in your chair. I love the way you are listening and following directions)
  • Model the behavior you want to see
  • Peer tutors
  • Ask another teacher if they have any ideas on how to help this child
  • Positive Reinforcement “Catch him/her being good”
  • As a last resort he/she can sit in “time out” or in the hall for demonstrating unsafe behaviors or disrupting the learning environment.
  • Ignore negative behavior
  • One-on- one assistance for managing his/her emotions
  • One-on-one guidance talks (This really made a difference in my situation. Everyday, at the same time we would spend one on one time together. This is a great time to talk about their day and listen to what they have to say….)
  • Praise him/her to promote positive self-esteem

Strategies for Intervention

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