How We Assess & Evaluate Learning

Assessment happens every day spontaneously and planned. It is observing an individual child, making an interpretation, which includes reflection and discussions to understand the learning, then using this understanding to make purposeful, meaningful learning. Assessment is about noticing learning taking place or opportunities for learning, recognizing the learning that will or is taking place and responding appropriately. When evaluating and assessing we find it essential to consider a child’s needs, abilities, strengths and capabilities. We endeavor to have respect for the child and the child’s families considering fairness and privacy.

There are many ways that we assess and evaluate learning. Documentation is a way for us to demonstrate to our parents and viewers what learning is taking place and allows them opportunities to have involvement in planning and reflections. We also believe that by documenting it allows our children to revisit their learning. Firstly we have a strong partnership with our parents and whanau.

We have built trusting relationships with open communication which allows for easy feedback. This is a broad and least formal type of assessment but we find that we communicate daily and in depth with our parents so feedback proves as a strong and effective form of documentation. We also use a daily reflections book daily for parents to read documenting experiences we have engaged in that day, learning that has occurred and children’s comments etc.

We like to use photos as a form of documentation. We find these effective because they are easily read by children, they are instant and they encourage children to reflect and revisit experiences. Through the photos the children can see what learning is happening. Children, teachers and whanau can talk about what is happening in the pictures which is an excellent way to develop language and communication skills. Photos are also an easy way to tell a story to parents allowing them to see what the child has been doing and learning.

Learning stories and learning dispositions are one of our big approaches to documenting and assessing learning. We use these as narratives assessments describing a story about what is being learnt/ discovered and an extension as to where else this could go. These are assessable to parents and children to once again encourage communication and involvement from parents, children and whanau in the children’s profile books and the planning scrap book.

Profile books are also a large part of our documentation. We believe these are a collection of our children’s work. It is something that the children, parents and whanau can share together in following their child’s work, progress and learning. We believe that our profile books provide a link between home and centre; children can take their profile books home, share them with their families and fill in parent and whanau voice sheets. This allows us to get a parents view on their child and encourages involvement from parents in decision making and a collaborative approach to learning.

Planning 

We believe that we are a community of learners. Planning involves children, teachers, parents and whanau all working together to create sharing meaning, learning and understanding.

We believe planning is about knowing a child’s interests and abilities and having an understanding for what they know and what more they want to know. All our planning links to Te Whariki and The New Zealand Curriculum Framework.

We believe it is a continual process which starts with observations. When we observe, we are noticing lots of things. We look for interests, abilities, interactions, problem solving and to gather information about what learning is taking place. We respond to these findings by collating this information together to identify strengths and interests, link to Te Whariki and co-construct alongside the children to create meaningful and shared learning and understanding.

We believe in sharing the power between children, teachers and parents, brainstorming and creating learning experiences that include the wider community. Implementation is followed by critical evaluation as well as reflection throughout this whole process. We reflect on what happened, what went well, what didn’t, what learning and development was taking place, how the children responded, how we responded and how else could the learning be continued and extended.

We follow an Emergent curriculum approach. This believes that planning is a process that is based on teachers being responsive to a particular person, place or time. We use spontaneous decision making to create an honest responsive curriculum emphasizing the power of play.

Our curriculum emerges from the children’s interests and unfolds and changes each day. We acknowledge and support children’s interests, ideas, suggestions, discoveries and questions empowering them to drive their own learning. Our teaching strategies are to co-construct and use a play partner role getting down on the children’s level drawing out their interest and sharing in these interests, discoveries and learning alongside the children.

An emergent curriculum recognizes the importance of the physical environment, daily tasks and building a community in our centre. We believe that routines such as sleeping, eating, toileting etc are important aspects to our curriculum where children experience social development, self help skills, co-operating and conflict resolutions.

The emergent curriculum emphasizes on the importance of the wider world through valuing individualities within community, family and culture. We believe in sharing in the same values as families and opening an exchange of communication between teacher, children, parents and whanau.

We follow a socio-cultural approach to learning and development. In this approach we value that children are products of their social and cultural worlds and that to gain understanding of children we must take into account the social and cultural contexts in which they develop.

This theory believes that the teacher’s role is to guide an individual child’s learning and development involving social and cultural values and practices and recognizing an individual’s ability, interest and learning. We support that language is a main key to learning, through meaningful social interactions and experiences. We recognize the zone of proximal development where we assess a child’s readiness and add guidance to assist learners.

All our programme planning is documented in a planning scrapbook which is on display for parents to read and comment in. Learning stories, brainstorms, art work and all documentation of the programme planning is contributed into this book. Notes from staff planning meetings are also included. Parents voice sheets are included to encourage parents to contribute to programme planning and shared decision making.
How we communicate with parents and share in the decision making of their children’s learning and development.

  • Profile books- parents voice/ child’s voice
  • Newsletters
  • Parent surveys/ questionnaires.
  • Daily Whiteboards
  • Website/ email
  • Communication diaries
  • Daily reflections books
  • Planning scrapbooks
  • Annual parent teacher interviews
  • Learning stories/ learning dispositions.
  • Photos
  • Open communication between parents and teachers.
  • Parent pockets
  • Parent evenings