Assessments are an essential part of any high quality early education program. In preschool, It is best practice to use authentic methods of assessment to track preschoolers’ growth within each developmental domain, such as portfolios. Using progress reports as a part of your preschool assessments is a great way to partner with your preschoolers’ families. They give parents an opportunity to clearly see where their child’s strengths and weaknesses are and partner with the teacher to create meaningful goals.
Progress reports are also essential in planning a developmentally appropriate curriculum for your preschoolers. Remember to keep progress reports simple and only include facts. Here is what you should include in all of your preschool progress reports.
1. DEVELOPMENTAL DOMAINS
There are five domains of development that are all interconnected. These domains are social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and language development. The growth you see in one domain can have a big impact on the growth of other domains as well. It is common for children to focus on one domain and to have large leaps of growth in that one domain at a time. Be sure to include all five domains in your progress reports in order to get a full picture of where each of your preschoolers’ are developmentally and how you can best support further growth.
It is important to always lead with the positives when discussing progress reports with your preschoolers’ parents. Make sure they understand what their child has been working on and succeeding at in your preschool classroom. When determining a child’s strengths use the authentic assessments that you have created for them to pick a couple of skills that they have truly mastered from each developmental domain. Use your state’s early childhood learning standards to guide you.
Progress reports are only really useful if we include the things that the child is not yet doing, or has not yet mastered. This is what will make it possible for you to use the progress notes as a tool to plan intentionally for your preschoolers. We want to do this in a positive way though. Which is why we frame it as goals instead of weaknesses. You want to focus on what they are working on, not what they cannot do.
Every preschooler in your classroom must have goals in each developmental domain that align with your state’s early childhood learning standards. In order to create these goals you have to be able to look at where their strengths are and what skills come next in development. Not everything that the child still needs to work on has to be a goal. Just focus on one or two goals from each area within the developmental domains. You do not want to overwhelm the parents or your curriculum planning.
At the end of each progress report include a brief, but positive, note about the child. Also include how the child will work towards one or two of their main goals. Oftentimes, activities that are created to work on skills in one developmental domain actually works on skills from several domains, so try to include one method that will help the child work towards multiple goals at once.
Using progress reports in preschool assessments gives teachers a very effective tool for sharing preschoolers’ growth and development over time with their families and for guiding their curriculum planning.