We use Teaching Strategies as our assessment tool for our Infant-Preschool classrooms. This tool is aligned with The Creative Curriculum®. This tool is known for its Grounding in their 38 research-based objectives for development and learning, GOLD® that supports effective teaching and assessment.
The growth and development of these 38 research-based objectives are naturally placed into the course of every day at ZCEC. Children are observed in their typical learning environment under natural conditions in order to authentically assess where they are at in their development.
The ‘Teaching Strategies’ process asks teachers to authentically assess children by carefully observing them in everyday interactions in the classroom. This observation happens in the natural context of teaching and providing care. When diapering an infant, snuggling with a toddler, assisting a young preschooler with a puzzle, or reading a story with a four-year-old, teachers are learning about each child’s development. The ‘Teaching Strategies’ is designed to assist teachers and parents in assessing individual skill development in six domains: gross motor, fine motor, cognitive, language, self-help, and social/emotional. The results of the formal assessment can be used to generate a comprehensive picture of a child’s developmental progress in the learning domains so that individualized developmentally appropriate activities can be planned and implemented. These assessments are used with all children, no matter where they are at developmentally. They can also be used with children that are bilingual. Children will be assessed at 4 checkpoint periods throughout the year. Written results are shared with the parents at least twice a year and when requested.
Ongoing teacher observations of group patterns and individual development are also used to adjust the program to better support group and individual progress. Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) are used when needed. Teachers document observations in their own unique ways such as recording anecdotes, taking photographs, and collecting samples of the children’s work. This type of assessment is sensitive to a child’s family culture, experiences, abilities/disabilities and home language. Portfolios, containing samples collected over time, chronicle where children begin when they first entered the program, what their interests are, what their challenges are, who their friends are, and how much they have grown.
Results of ZCEC assessments are primarily used to shape the current year’s classroom/program planning and to discuss individual children’s developmental progress with parents so that we can work together to best support each child’s growth. If needed, staff and parents collaborate to arrange for further developmental screenings and/or referrals for diagnostic assessments.
Zearing Child Enrichment Center maintains confidentiality and respects the family’s right to privacy, refraining from disclosure of confidential information and intrusion into family life. However, when we have reason to believe that a child’s welfare is at risk, we will share confidential information with agencies, as well as with individuals who have legal responsibility for intervening in the child’s interest.