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Competency #10 Evaluate learning and assessment activities using the early learning standards for each individual

child.

In order to successfully support a child’s learning, early child care providers, parents, and preschool programs need to know where that child is functioning according to developmental guidelines. There are a number of factors to consider in order to provide the most support including the observation of the child’s work and behavior, using reliable instruments to assess appropriate skills and applying a system which helps teachers both organize the learning environment and plan experiences. The program is informed by ongoing systematic, formal, and informal assessment approaches to provide information on children’s learning and development. These assessments occur within the context of reciprocal communications with families and with sensitivity to the cultural contexts in which children develop. Assessment results are used to benefit children by informing sound decisions about children, teaching, and program improvement. Teachers’ knowledge of each child helps them to plan appropriately challenging curriculum and to tailor instruction that responds to each child’s strengths and needs. Further, systematic assessment is essential for identifying children who may benefit from more intensive instruction or intervention or who may need additional developmental evaluation. This information ensures that the program meets its goals for children’s learning and developmental progress and also informs program improvement efforts. Each early childhood environment should have an organized way to record developmental milestones, whether created by the individual teacher, school program, or commercially developed. This information should include where each child is functioning and what progress each child makes throughout the year. This tracking system should be in developmental order so a teacher can easily see a continuum of progress and skill acquisition. In order to provide developmentally appropriate activities and to support each child, the teacher must know where the children are functioning. This should be the foundation for organizing and planning classroom activities and will set the stage for individualization and ongoing monitoring. Knowing the general skill level of the entire group should determine the direction taken by the teacher. It is not appropriate for a teacher to assume or estimate what the child or children are capable of doing. An organized and effective early childhood classroom revolves around developmentally appropriate activities on the skills level of each child. In order for this to happen, a teacher must have an organized idea of developmental guidelines, a plan for supporting and providing skill development, a way of tracking individual progress, and a simple formal assessment. When the information is gathered and recorded on a ready reference, it should be used to inform instruction and help the teacher provide developmentally appropriate activities according to the skill level of the preschool children in her care.