Assessments in preschool are always for the benefit of each child. They aren’t meant to be scary, dismal, or disheartening. Rather, they allow teachers to take a comprehensive look at what each child knows, how she is developing, and where she can continue to grow.
It’s important to note that, as teachers, we are not stressed about what each child can and can’t do. Rather, we are focused on seeing progress and development for each child. We don’t compare children to each other. At UDA Creative Arts Preschool, we believe we teach a child, not a class. This means that while we teach classrooms of children, we are focused on getting each child to their next step.
We know it’s easy to fall into comparison mode as parents, but we strongly encourage you to focus on your child’s progress. Does your child know more now than he did at the beginning of the year? Have her fine motor skills improved compared to what she was capable of five months ago? This is what’s important — that your child is progressing.
Preschool assessments are not standardized tests; there are no right or wrong answers.
Why Perform Assessments in Preschool?
Preschool assessments are a valuable tool to teachers, parents, and children in many ways:
- Assessments in preschool provide the teacher with data and details. This data helps teachers to see each child’s strengths, as well as areas that need continued focus.
- Preschool assessments help to inform future instruction. With the information collected from assessments, teachers can adjust their methods and techniques to benefit each child.
- Assessments identify special needs. During assessments, teachers can identify areas in which a child isn’t progressing. This can be critical information at a young age, and parents can use it to obtain necessary interventions and help.
- Assessments provide a way to communicate to parents about their child’s progress and development. This not only gives parents a good idea of how their children are doing, it also gives them a baseline for continuing learning at home. For example, if the assessment shows that your child knows most of his letters, but only a few numbers, you can continue encouraging what your child knows while boosting number knowledge through letter and number identification throughout your day. If your child is great at sharing at preschool, you can continue to encourage that at home.
- Preschool assessments help teachers with group teaching. When we are done with assessments, we have the data to show us how many children are mastering certain concepts. If we need to adjust teaching as a group, we can do so. Likewise, if we need to give one or two children extra attention, we can plan for that.
- Assessments help parents see their children’s strengths. We love this part of assessments. Each of our children are advancing in unique ways, and we love to point out those special qualities to parents.
What Do We Assess at UDA?
We aim to develop the whole child, so our preschool assessments focus on several areas of development:
- Physical development
- Motor skills
- Identification of letters and their sounds, numbers, shapes, colors, etc.
- Social development
- Emotional development
- Language development
- General knowledge
- And more
We don’t expect any child to be perfect in any area. Our goal is to always see progress.
How We Perform Assessments at UDA Creative Arts Preschool
The word assessment conjures up thoughts of sitting still at a desk, sweat dripping down cheeks, as the child frets about proving they know the “right answers.”
But assessment time at UDA is a fun time for your child (and our teachers!).
We conduct our assessments as games, not tests. This is important because our aim is to really see what your child knows. Putting pressure on a child by demanding answers won’t give us an accurate picture of your child’s development and knowledge.
Playing an enjoyable game in which the child is having fun and is encouraged to show their knowledge makes the experience exciting and special for your child. And when your child feels happy, he’s confident. We know we get a more accurate picture of your child’s knowledge in this way.
Each assessment period is individualized to the child. Some children may feel more comfortable jumping while they play a letter identifying game, and others may prefer to use a stuffed animal to “answer” for them. We all really put on our creativity hats when we assess to make the experience right for each child.
We’re very aware of short attention spans, and so we do our assessments in chunks of time over a month. That way, your child doesn’t get overly distracted or overtaxed. And we receive a better picture of what your child knows.
Ultimately, the children don’t ever realize they are being assessed. They simply know they get to have fun one-on-one time with their teacher, playing games. The teacher is able to glean important data to mark the child’s progress in this way.
At UDA Creative Arts Preschool, we love to see our children progress and develop in their own unique ways. If you know someone with a child who would benefit from our unique approach, have them give us a call at (801) 523-5930 or contact us online to schedule a tour.