Writing a good early childhood assessment report has recently taken on new importance in the modern education system. This is because both private and government organizations are developing programs to enhance the school readiness of all young children, but especially those children from economically disadvantaged homes and communities and children with special needs.
Writing a good early childhood assessment is critical for teaching and program improvement for each individual child. An accurate assessment naturally contributes to better outcomes for the child. In fact, assessments make crucial contributions to the improvement of children’s well-being, but only if they are well designed, effectively implemented, are systematically developed, and easily interpretable and implementable.
When writing a good early childhood assessment, then, it is critical to include as many people who are involved with the child as possible. This means interviewing parents and child care attendants and observing the child in a variety of environments, including how the child interacts with peers and those who are in a position of authority of the child. Otherwise, the assessment of the child and then the programs assigned for the child can have negative consequences.
The value of the assessment, therefore, requires fundamental attention to their purpose and the design of the larger systems in which they are used. Writing a good early childhood assessment involves take a look at the big picture – how will the child succeed, how will other children interacting with this child succeed, what will that success look like, and how will it be defined. Unfortunately too many assessments are written with only short term successes in mind, and that can have just as many negative consequences as placing the child in the wrong programs.
Far too often, unfortunately, people think they are writing a good early childhood assessment when they are not. That is because there are immense pressures to put children into specific groups so that programs can continue to be funded. This model just does not work because the focus is not on the child, but on the program itself. Certainly keeping programs funded is important, but not at the expense of the health, welfare, and education of the children attending the program inappropriately.
The key to writing a good early childhood assessment program is to incorporate all elements of that child’s life, and then include that child in programs that effective build up both his strengths and his weaknesses. Paying attention to the child and listening to what is being communicated to you, both verbally and non-verbally, then effectively documenting what you learn is the key to the success of each child.