Early Childhood Center/ Lab SchoolCitizens of the World
At the ECC, we believe that:
- Each child is a unique individual with strengths, interests and needs.
- Children are competent, curious, and have high potentials.
- Children are active participants in the learning process.
- Teachers play the roles of guides, facilitators and researchers.
- Parents are partners in the learning environment.
- Children, teachers and parents are the three subjects of education.
- Young children learn best through play which is the primary mechanism for children’s growth and development in all other domains.
- Learning environments are successful when they include authentic activities for solving real life situations.
- Documentation is an essential way of communication.
Documentation is characterized by the technique of recording children’s ideas and work in progress through taking notes of their words, collecting their drawings, and taking photos and videos of them while at work. While children are involved in various learning activities and play experiences, the ECC teachers circulate among them, discuss with them the phases and processes of their work and ask them open-ended questions including the how, why and what if questions to promote children’s problem-solving and invite them to think deeper about things.
Detailed pictures of children involved in playing, investigating and manipulating various objects with a record of the exact words that they have used to describe what they did, felt and thought of are continuously displayed at the ECC. Both the process and the product of the project being investigated are highlighted by emphasizing children’s ideas, feelings and experiences throughout the learning journey with the teachers’ observations. The documented display of children’s work symbolizes a visual representation of learning.
Importance of Documentation
At the ECC, we believe that documentation is extremely important because:
- It offers children a concrete representation of the work that they did and the dialogue that they had through the use of children’s images and words. Children will then become more interested and motivated to explore the work that they have achieved.
- It represents to teachers a tool to evaluate children’s learning process and growth of knowledge and skills.
- It provides parents with all the information needed regarding their children’s learning in the classrooms and invite them to take part in the learning process.
At the ECC, assessment is ongoing throughout the year. It has different objectives which aim at:
- Identifying children’s individual characteristics and learning needs
- Understanding the developmental growth and achievement of children
- Informing parents about their children’s progress
- Modifying the curriculum based on children’s needs
- Modifying the instructional approaches and the learning environment
Assessment at the ECC is directly linked to curriculum goals. Every child’s progress will be continuously assessed in all the developmental areas through the use of ongoing anecdotal records, individual student webs, narrative observations, one-on-one conferences, and developmental continuums and reports. Authentic assessment tools will continuously be used to evaluate children’s progress in their cognitive, social, emotional, linguistic, physical and creative areas. The assessment results will then allow teachers to modify their curriculum plans and individualize their instructional decisions accordingly, taking into consideration children’s learning styles and needs and individual areas of interest in order to guarantee optimum growth of every student. The assessment results will also be communicated to parents on a daily basis and during the parent-teacher conferences.
Developmental Continuum and Progress Report
Throughout the year, teachers collect information about the individual development of every child and give emphasis to how leaning is pursed at varied paces depending on children’s different readiness levels. The developmental continuums measure each child’s unique growth in the cognitive, social, emotional, creative, and physical areas by highlighting accurate and detailed descriptions of the growth. The progress reports are narrative descriptions of the children’s development in the five curricular domains and provide specific evidence of children’s learning. Every child’s progress is assessed through careful and ongoing observations, teachers’ anecdotal records and one-to-one teacher-student conferences. Teachers do not use neither letter nor numerical grades when assessing children in order to honor each child’s unique characteristics and areas of growth. Both the developmental continuums and the progress reports are sent to parents twice a year.
Teachers create a portfolio for every child, which includes a collection of work samples that represent several learning activities, written summaries, pictures, anecdotes and various forms of documented experiences. In June, teachers and children will share the portfolios with parents during the end of year Portfolio Event in order to celebrate the children’s achievements.