Appropriate Preschool Standards


In my last entries, I mentioned how preschool assessment is here to stay. Knowing that assessment or monitoring must occur, it is also appropriate to know what skills are being assessed. Most states have recently created or updated their preschool standards reflecting current researched practices, particularly in language, literacy and mathematics. Through checking many current state standards, I find that the required skills are generally the same for preschool throughout the country. Occasionally an off-the-wall standard appears, but usually the indicators are very similar. The one problem I see in some state standards, as well as federal Head Start standards, is that many times the skills are not listed in the devleopmental order that they should be introduced and mastered. Hopefully, state school programs, early childhood organizations and early childhood curriculum authors will provide some guidance on skills that have a developmental order of mastery.
I had a ‘reality check’ while visiting a Head Start classroom. The teacher was having the children sponge paint a pattern. It was evident to me, after observing for 30 mintues, that the children had no idea about creating or repeating a pattern. I asked the teacher if she had done any classification/sorting activities (a necessary skill in order to create a pattern). She replied, “No. We will do some classification activities sometime this year.” When I looked at her curriculum plan it was evident that the skills were all randomly placed within each domain. This is why I think it is necessary to make sure any standards are placed in the appropriate order and sequence.

Advertisements

10 responses

  1. I have to agree with Mr. Funk. My daughter was in a local preschool program this past school year. Her teacher sent home “homework” every Tuesday and Thursday which consisted of worksheets. My first complaint of course was that fact that these preschoolers who were supposedly “getting used to having homework” were given worksheets instead of something more deveopmentally appropriate such as having a parent read to them for 15 mintues. But my next complaint had to do exactly with the things Mr. Funk was talking about. AFter Christmas the worksheets that were sent home were “Barbie” doing things such as classifying and picking sets that had the same number. Then there were worksheets about picking out beginning and middle sounds in words. This may not sound bad but in “class” they had not been doing anything to lead up to these activities. Their class time consisted of playing, circle time (which from what my daughter said they may sing one song and read a story), art time (which again was cut and paste if she was allowed to do any of the cutting), and then play time again. Usually when I would pick her up they were watching a movie. The class time only was 1 hour and 15 minutes; they should not have been wasting their small amount of time on a movie. At the end of the year I had no idea what my daughter actually knew and what was worse, the teacher had know idea what she did or did not know. This was highly disappointing to me!!!

  2. I have often had the same thoughts as I work with and visit our university student teachers. Not only do they generally not know what they’re doing but to teach skills is such random fashion has them doing it to get the task done rather than build on foundational skills that these kids need to be creating to make future connections.

  3. Unfortunately, I agree that assesment is probably here to stay. One of my concerns is that most preschool teachers do not have the experience or educational training to assess children correctly thus bringing into question the validity and reliability of these assessments. I think to often they “just do” the assessment without really thinking about having what it is they are doing. Based on our own school experience, we are all so trained to think of assessment as a test and thus as a black and white instument with a ‘right’answer rather than as a measure of growth. I hope some day that this assessment pendulum swings back to a more appropriate way to measure young children, using the tools we already have such as, than governement developed standarized tests and assessments.

  4. I agree with all the comments and want to emphasize that many readiness assessments tend to focus on academic skills (such as reading and math) which can lead teachers to neglect the social-emotional development that is critical in early childhood. Research also shows that academic skills are strongly linked to social-emotional development. And the most important way to develop social emotional skills is through play faciliated by a skilled teacher and clearly defined curriculum.

  5. I agree with all the comments and want to emphasize that many readiness assessments tend to focus on academic skills (such as reading and math) which can lead teachers to neglect the social-emotional development that is critical in early childhood. Research also shows that academic skills are strongly linked to social-emotional development. And the most important way to develop social emotional skills is through play faciliated by a skilled teacher and clearly defined curriculum.

  6. I agree that assessment is here to stay in preschool environments. My impression while observing my Head Start teaching staff (who are all certified elementary teachers)is that they would greatly prefer paper and pencil, black and white assessments as opposed to observation and developing individualized plans around those observations. They are excelling in use of the NRS tool.

  7. I would like to respond to ms isom. She said that her daughter only spent one hour and fifteen minutes in class. Does she mean that preschoolers should sit for more than one hour? At our preschool, we combine discovery centers with 15 minutes of circle time. Anything more time than that is too long. I like what cwright said ” And the most important way to develop social emotional skills is through play faciliated by a skilled teacher and clearly defined curriculum.” That is the perfect statement. Parents don’t always understand that children learn throught play. Preschool is (should be) a lot different than kindergarten.As far as assessments go, public schools require that academic standards be met before a child can enter kindergarten, To separate the academic skills and the social-emotional development of young children, however is a big mistake as far as early childhood education goes!I would be interested to know what Mr. Funk believes the correct developmental order is, as each and every child develops differentally meaning that all areas very well may not be mastered before beginning kindergarten.

  8. Distance learning is a term which encompasses all learning that takes place at locations remote from the point of instruction.Link to this site: early bird learninghttp://learningadvice.info

  9. One of the responses to Ms. Isom states that children learn through play. I don’t think Ms. Isom was disagreeing with that. It sounded like the preschool teacher did not have lessons that supported what the children already knew and built off of. The activities themselves may not have been bad when look at on their own, but from her explanation of what she knew was happening during classtime, there was no structure or reason to the activities that supported any concepts the children should be learning. In my experience as a preschool teacher, the activities need to support each other in one, maybe two concepts, and be activities the children will enjoy doing. Though they do have to get used to doing worksheets, they should definately not be the only source of learning. I absolutely agree with Prof. Funk’s entry on sequencing the concepts and materials. The students need to be introduced to a concept, then proceed to activities that will illustrate the concept and reinforce it for understanding. Just doing busy work is not teaching!

  10. I like what cwright said " And the most important way to develop social emotional skills is through play faciliated by a skilled teacher and clearly defined curriculum." That is the perfect statement. Parents don't always understand that children learn throught play. Preschool is (should be) a lot different than kindergarten.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: