As you begin to plan out your preschool curriculum for the year, it helps to know where your children are developmentally so that you know where you want to “go”. One way I like to do that is with a developmental guide. You can buy developmental guides and programs like the POCET or the Portage Guide ,or if you’re a nerd like I am, you can look through position statements and curriculum guides and develop your own. I put together one based on several resources, as well as my own philosophy and program. It seems best to fit my needs. If you accept the caveat that I have not been commissioned by a higher authority to create this as the perfect assessment piece, you’re welcome to use it as well. Just sign up for the NJC Newsletter. (Feel free to comment with any questions you may have about using this checklist, or comment on how you’ve adapted it to meet your needs.)
Here’s how I use it. At the beginning of the year, during my parent meeting, I hand out an assessment to each parent. I explain that I developed this list to guide my activities, NOT as a judgement of their children. It is NOT intended as a checklist of all the skills their children should be able to do already, or that they should even be able to check everything by the time they finish the year. ( In fact, I intentionally put some skills on the list that are actually considered kindergarten skills, just to show the progression of those skills.) What this checklist does, is show me where the children are on their skills and what they accomplish through the year. It helps me to stay focused on providing opportunities within the ZPD of the children, to develop the skills that have not yet been mastered, while at the same time not going too far beyond their skill level.
Here’s an example. If I notice that none of the children has mastered patterns, I may work that into a small group activity. If only a few children need exposure to that skill I may approach them as they play at the working tables and use the manipulatives there (such as geo tiles or lacing beads) to introduce the concept individually. Likewise, if I need to assess how well the children manipulate scissors, or if many of the children need more experience with this motor skill, I would plan a cutting activity at the art table. The purpose of the checklist is really more as a guide for my teaching than an evaluation of the child.
At the meeting, I have the parents fill out the checklist, writing the child’s name on the top, and marking each skill they have already observed as mastered. (They can simply put a check in the date column.) Then I have them star three or so items to indicate those skills they would most like to see their child develop, so that I have an idea of where the parents assess their own child’s needs. (These starred items would also be great to discuss at a beginning of year parent-teacher conference.)
Once I have the completed lists, I put them in a binder with a tab for each child, followed by their checklist and a few blank pages. On the blank pages I can make any notes that may go along with the observations. I number them as I enter them, and then write the number in the comments column next to the skill, so that I know that there is a comment associated with the skill.
With these checklists as my guide, I can more easily determine which skills I need to incorporate as I do my planning. With a focused guide I can chart an effective course for learning by giving the children the right opportunities at the right time.
Photo provided by lusi.
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i absolutely love your blog!!!
Thank you! I love having readers!
Wonderful concise information on why you need to “assess” where your children are and how to use that information. I would love to use some of this for my assessment trainings I do if that would be alright with you?
Certainly. Please just be sure to give credit to myself and my blog. Glad to know it will continue to be used.
Of course! We have had a checklist in place for quite some time. I just spent this summer revamping it to align to standards and such. I do trainings throughout the state on assessment and this information feeds nicely into what I talk about.
I have just come across your blog through Pinterest (not sure exactly how lol) but I am totally amazed! Thank you! I plan to use your ideas in planning for my preschool classroom.
Teresa Taylor says
I am not able to find the broad developmental assessment. Can you please help…the link is not working.
Thanks so much!!! I LOVE THIS BLOG!!!!
Thanks for your kind words, Teresa!
If you click on the underlined words “developmental assessment” up in the text, it should take you to a page that simply lists that same phrase as a title. If you click there, it should open the PDF. Let me know if you still have trouble!
You may also be able to just click on the title from this link: https://notjustcute.com/2009/08/19/know-where-youre-going-using-a-developmental-checklist-as-a-guide/broad-developmental-assessment/