Child Assessments – A window on progress
In 2015 we decided to introduce child assessments into our ECD programme as a way of monitoring the progress made by ECD teachers through the year. We wanted to use it to recognise the areas where children in the crèches were struggling and needed the most help but also as a visual tool to encourage the ECD teachers throughout the year in the changes they were bringing.
We created an assessment tool by looking at the holistic areas of growth that we would be studying during the programme and pulling together development milestones for each of those areas for each age group. At start of the course we visited and assessed 2 children from each of the crèches we were working with. We charted these findings as a baseline to work from as we moved through the programme.
We discovered through these baseline assessments that while most children were generally developing well socially, emotionally and physically they were falling behind with their cognitive milestones and this deficit was seen most in the 5yr old/Grade R children. The teachers found it hard to hear the news as things they thought their children knew and understood they realised they didn’t such as number and colour recognition and counting. Other areas such as word awareness and phonics the teachers themselves did not really understand and so there were lots of things to work on in the year ahead. With the information we gathered through assessments we decided to change some of our cognitive development training to help focus in on activities that would help the children in the areas where they were struggling.
By the mid-year assessments In July we could already see that progress was being made and it was great to be able to encourage the teachers with this information. The teachers could see that their children were meeting their targets and that was because of the input they were giving.
At the end of October we assessed the children for the last time. The progress that the children had made since the start of the year could be clearly seen. The assessments were a clear reflection of all the teachers had achieved.
It can be seen from the 3 year old graphs (left), that all the children made huge progress since the start of the year when they could complete none of the milestones
It can be seen from the 5 year old graphs (below), that the high (pink) and average (blue) achievers have made huge progress in meeting their cognitive milestones since the start of the year