Assessment is the ongoing process we use to find out what every child knows and can do. It helps us discover each child’s strengths, skills, interests, and needs so we know how to help every child experience success. Our assessment system also enables us to exchange information with families so, together, we can ensure that your child is progressing.
The assessment system we use does not involve testing children. We learn about children by carefully observing what they do and say as they participate in everyday activities in the classroom. We know that each child is an individual, with different interests, skills, strengths, and needs. The more we learn about each child, the better we can plan experiences that are just right: sufficiently challenging and engaging.
What Is Being Assessed and Why?
When assessing children, we observe and nurture the skills and knowledge we want them to acquire in our program. Assessment, therefore, is closely linked to our curriculum. To teach effectively, we have to know what to teach, when to teach particular skills, and how to teach in ways that help each individual child develop and learn.
Knowing What to Teach What we teach is guided by 38 objectives that address all aspects of children’s development and learning. The experiences and learning activities we plan each day are designed to help children acquire these abilities.
You will no doubt find that the objectives for development and learning are ones that are also important to you. You have watched your child growing and learning since birth.
Every day you have seen your child developing new abilities, such as
• learning how to relate positively to others and how to control emotions;
• developing physical skills, gaining increasing control of both large and small muscles;
• acquiring thinking skills, solving problems, and figuring out how things work; or
• understanding the meaning of words and using words to communicate.
From a very early age, your child has been gaining knowledge and skills in five important content areas:
Literacy: enjoying stories and books, understanding how print works, learning the alphabet and the sounds of words and letters
Math: comparing sizes and shapes, recognizing patterns, counting and using numbers
Science and Technology: observing and experimenting to learn about objects and living things and using tools and technology to do tasks
Social Studies: learning about people—how they live, how they change, and where they live
The Arts: exploring music, dance, and dramatic play and expressing ideas with art materials
The 38 objectives for development and learning are based on research, include the skills and knowledge that predict children’s school success, and are aligned to state early learning standards. This reassures us—and you—that we are focusing on the most important skills and knowledge that children need to acquire in the first 5 years of life.
The objectives are organized into 10 areas of development and learning, including 2 for English- and dual-language learners. Many of the objectives are broken down into 2 or more smaller objectives called “dimensions.” These dimensions clarify all the skills that are relevant to each objective. On the next page, you will find a complete list of all the objectives for development and learning for children from birth through kindergarten.