The beginning of the year is a time for services to welcome new children and their families. Families may ask about their children’s learning and how they will know about their progress. This is a good opportunity to begin developing effective partnerships with new families, sharing information about children’s current knowledge, interests and abilities.
Assessment for learning, as described in the Early Years Learning Framework, and evaluation for well-being and learning, as described in the Framework for School Age Care, are the processes of gathering and analysing information as evidence of children’s well-being and learning. They are practices integral to the ongoing cycle of planning, where documenting and evaluating children’s learning drives the planning process.
There are many ways to gather information, such as through discussions with families; observations; children’s, educators’ and parents’ reflections; photos, video and audio recordings; and children’s work, chosen with children, that shows significant learning.
Making children’s learning visible supports educators to celebrate children’s achievements, “in partnership with children, families and other professionals to plan effectively; communicate about children’s learning and progress; determine the extent to which all children are progressing; identify children who may need additional support; evaluate the effectiveness of learning opportunities and reflect on pedagogy and practice that will suit individual children” (EYLF p17 and FSAC p16).
The Educators’ Guide to the Early Years Learning Framework and the Educators’ Guide to the Framework for School Age Care have some useful reflective questions to inform decision making when engaging in the assessment for well-being and learning process. At your next team meeting, you might like to discuss:
- What does observing, documenting and assessing look like in your setting and how does this include children’s and families’ voices?
- What does success look like for individual children and who recognises and interprets success?
- How do you support children to assess their own learning, including discussing their next steps based on their own interests and abilities?
- How do you use assessment information to support families to understand the skills and abilities of their children and how they can extend them at home?
- How do you know about the learning that is valued and expected for children within the family and local community cultural context, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children? In what ways is this valued and assessed in your setting?
- How do these aspects support quality improvement and is this reflected in your Quality Improvement Plan goals?