Most of my life I have been surrounded by children especially my cousins, nieces and nephews. I have chosen to go into this field because I want to be one of those early childhood teacher that get children ready for important part of life. Having little cousins to watch growing up as well my own children and see them grow in their early education has shown me that I want to be part of that. I love the thought of being the first person to get the children started with their education by helping them along the way with fun filled classroom activities and games. The early childhood are the most vital time for learning, therefore observations, assessments, planning and evaluation are an important part of the curriculum for children’s learning and within early childhood centres and teaching practices. These all work in correlation to support learning for children. These terms will be discussed in this essay, along with appropriate teaching strategies to support children’s learning in the physical, temporal and interpersonal aspects for an optimal learning environment. Observations serve a number of purposes. When reflected on the planning cycle observation which can be termed under the heading of ‘notice’. Observations help us learn about the children in centres, how centre programmes work and to gather information about children’s learning. To narrow it down it is the foundation of assessment, planning and evaluation (Penrose, 1998). It is important that consideration to ethics is apparent, and that consent has been granted, so the rights of those being observed are respected when conducting observation. The word ‘observes’ can be interpreted in which it is important that teachers need to decide what to observe and weather to be subjective or need to be objective (Penrose, 1998). Formal observations include, anectodal, running record, time sampling is defined as being an objective observation. Informal observations is “something that happens from minute to minute as adults work with young children, and provides a sound basis for the planning to meet the learning needs of young children” (Hamer, 1999, p.53). In order to help teachers understand how children in their centres grow, change and develop, it is important that the records must be accurate and the child’s and parents ‘voice’ is also listened to (Penrose, 1998). Observations help teachers to develop awareness and objectivity which helps teachers with the children and create quality in centres. Documentation leads higher learning and helps to support the child’s individual interests and learning styles. Observations also give parents an insight into their child’s interest and development within an early childhood environment (Penrose, 1998).
The term assessment is referred to as the process of noticing children’s learning, recognising its significance and responding to ways that teachers can foster their learning further (Ministry of Education [MoE], 2004b).
Assessment helps to enhance a child’s chance of becoming a successful learner. When reflecting this into the planning cycle it comes under the heading of ‘recognise’ (MoE, 2004a). Formative assessment is described as informing learning and carrying on from what has been seen when children are assessed to inform and provides feedback to teachers and families on what the child can do and what they are ready to learn next (Davis, 2002). Assessment can also be regarded as being informal which can be decisions that are made on day to day base, when working with children. When linking observation to assessment, different areas can be analysed and different methods can be used depending on what the objective is that one is doing the observation for (Davis, 2002). Assessments are important to the early childhood settings as it helps to identify interests, strengths, challenges and barriers in all different areas that need addressing and areas where changes might be needed....
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