|We want to be sure your child is making progress in our program. We don't leave learning
to chance. That's why we keep track of what each child knows and can do. This
information helps us to plan for further teaching and learning.
We can tell if your child is making progress because we know the steps preschool children
typically go through in learning a skill. Just as toddlers go through stages in learning to
walk (they sit up, crawl, stand, and then walk), preschoolers follow a typical path when
they learn a new skill. We observe children's paths as they learn new skills and support
them along the way.
To show you what we mean, let's look at one objective of our curriculum: "Writes letters
and words." Preschool children often begin using scribble writing and shapes that look like
letters. Then they may write some letters, especially the letters in their names. Later, they
start to write letters that stand for works. They might write "dg" to stand for the word "dog."
They write the sounds they hear. These are the steps we typically see.
By carefully observing each day, we find out what children know about letters and words.
We may discover that many children are scribble writing. That tells us what experiences
we can provide to build on what they know and help them move to the next step. For
example, we would
*put out more alphabet puzzles and games
*display the alphabet and talk to children about which letters are in their names
*place writing materials in many interest areas so children can use them in their
play, make signs for the block structures, and enjoy writing for a purpose.
We don't need tests to find out what preschool children know. Tests are not reliable for
this age group. Instead, we observe what children do and take notes. We collect samples
of each child's work--drawings, writing, photos of artwork or block buildings-and keep
them in a portfolio. Several times during the year we summarize this information and share
it with you . We ask what you have seen your child do. Together, we gain a more
complete picture of you child's progress. Then we can plan together how to support your
|How We Know Children Are Learning
A Parent's Guide to Preschool
Diane Trister Dodge and Joanna Phinney
4527 Southwest Hwy.
Oak Lawn, IL 60453
Fax : 708-424-1445