As I said in my previous blog we plan our curriculum around the needs of our preschoolers. We are constantly observing and taking notes. We have also designed assessments that are easy for us to quickly do with each kiddo and keep track of their social, emotional and academic development. These take only minutes but give us a quick update on where they are and what we need to be working on. Then we take this learned information and share with parents so that they can see their child's growth, we use the information to break the kids up into smaller groups and even individual work.
We keep the assessments in a binder with dividers for each child, the kind where the tab says their name, we also keep work samples and notes about the student in this binder. We do this so that we can monitor growth. We email parents what they can work on at home or tell them in person. We also have little slips of paper with the ABC's or Numbers 1-20 on them that we can easily highlight and send home in their folders. This way parents have a visual that they can keep on the refrigerator.
Assessments are essential!! You have to know that what you are teaching and how you are teaching it is effective, you must make sure that the children in your class are growing and developing as they should. Assessment are also a way to help your parent feel you are doing they best for their children. That you are doing your job. Think of it as job security! When a parent walks in and says " All I see my kid doing here is playing and bringing home crafts,etc." you have paper proof that their child started your school with these set of skills and hey! look where they are now!
Its inevitable you WILL have a parent do this, and lets be honest, you need to be able to prove what you have done for their child if they can't see it themselves.
Assessments also help in your planning, you can't plan if you don't know what your students need from you. If you are planning without doing assessments than half your students are not learning. Learning has to be scaffolded, you need to build on previous knowledge. How do you know what that previous knowledge is if you aren't assessing their growth?