Evaluating children in early childhood education settings is an ongoing process of using observations and other evidence to make judgements about children’s development and learning. The purpose for regular evaluation through a process of documentation and assessment is to enable responsive, well thought out long-term and short-term planning to promote the optimal growth, development, and learning for all children in the program.
Approaches to evaluation that are culturally and linguistically relevant and responsive to the social, physical and intellectual capabilities will acknowledge children’s abilities and strengths, and allow them to demonstrate competence. Evaluation, when undertaken in collaboration with children can support and empower them to see themselves as capable and foster independence and initiative.
When educators reflect on their role in children’s lives they reflect on their own views and understandings of theory, research and practice to focus on:
the experiences and environments they provide and how that links to the intended outcomes
the extent to which they know and value the culturally specific knowledge about children that is embedded within the community in which they are working
each child’s opportunities in the context of their families, drawing family perspectives, understandings, experiences and expectations
the opportunities which build on what children already know and what they bring to the school age care setting
evidence that the experiences offered are inclusive of all children and culturally appropriate
not making assumptions about children’s development or setting lower expectations for some children because of unacknowledged biases
incorporating pedagogical practices that reflect knowledge of diverse perspectives and contribute to children’s wellbeing and successful learning
whether there are sufficiently challenging experiences for all children
the evidence that demonstrates children feel safe and secure, and are engaged
how they can expand the range of ways they debrief and reflect to make evaluation richer and more useful.
This process of reflective evaluation can lead to quality early childhood education programming that supports the optimal development of each child it provides care and education for.
Pause to Reflect
Summarize what you now know about documentation and assessment in a paragraph. What are your key takeaways from this chapter?