Teaching Strategies Gold Assessment a Powerful Teaching Tool for Children.
The educational system in our country has been searching for an effective model to assess responsive teaching in preschools since the recent sweep of educational reform. Professional educators have been calling out for new standards and methods focusing on school readiness assessment tools for children from infancy to post-secondary, as well as workforce readiness in the United States.
Early learning and development guidelines tell us that the adoption of an effective early childhood assessment model, that assists responsive teaching in preschools and childcare facilities, is a foundational element for ensuring that every child entering kindergarten is prepared and ready to enter the school system.
Using a web-based, developmentally appropriate assessment system like Teaching Strategies Gold for children aged birth through kindergarten, provides a structured method for very busy pre-school teachers and assistants to focus on the development path of each of their students. Teaching Strategies Gold utilizes a comprehensive structure of video clips and photo images, small-group activities, with trained teachers that are skilled in the principles of observation and documentation of developmental behaviors of young children. This four-step assessment cycle leads teachers to explore the structural features and functionality of Teaching Strategies Gold tools and objectives.
What are the Goals of These Assessments?
The primary goals of these observation-based tools are to use hands-on activities to observe the children while writing objective notes and taking snapshots in an unbiased format. Teachers can evaluate each child’s portfolio and effectively communicate and illustrate their assessment information to every child’s family.
Implementing Teaching Strategies Gold in pre-school and childcare environments helps early educators focus on meeting the social and emotional developmental needs of our very young children on an individual basis while relating to a community of their peers.
Providing early development childcare staff with meaningful tools to better communicate a child’s needs to families promotes quicker identification and remediation, to help a child struggling with physical, cognitive or emotional challenges receive support.
Why is this a Basic Need in Our Educational System?
During early childhood education, the quality of adult relationships in a child’s life is a critical element that contributes to shaping every child’s emotional and social health and their experience of well-being. These assessment applications have built-in strategies to enhance a caregiver’s observational awareness.
The Teaching Strategies Gold model is a specific set of tools that adds developmental experiences into the children’s daily experiences to help them develop and integrate self-control and self-regulation, express emotions appropriately, and demonstrate their continuous progress in these experiences. Under the guiding and evaluative eyes of their caregivers, each child is experiencing an attentive and aware adult in their environment.
Catching a Child’s Developmental Struggles Early Helps to Resolve Problems Quicker
Early identification can be an essential approach for identification and intervention. This is the first opportunity for catching and discussing these observations with children’s families using illustrations of the behaviors or developmental needs. Strong remedies for skill strengthening and nurturing these preschoolers can begin at the earliest possible point, when first indication of presented challenging behaviors is observed and captured.
The Teaching Strategies Gold tool assists professionals in early childcare facilities to substantiate their observations with this new structure. They are backed-up with the authority of the elements of the program, when consulting with the families on a regular basis, using this snapshot documentation method.
How Does this Evaluation Tool Differ from Other’s Being Used?
The trust that has developed for Teaching Strategies GOLD has its defining roots in the foundational research that backs up its principles.
- Extensive literature-based research
- Recent works in the field, like 2006 – “Child Trends – School Readiness – Predictive Research”,
2007 – “Pathways Mapping Initiative”, 2009- “The National Early Literacy Panel”
Yes: a) Is this an outcome valued by state early learning standards? b) Is this a key predictor of school success?
Other developmental milestone tools are often reported very generally, the observations are taken during a one-day specific testing time, performed outside the child’s familiar environment, and the tester’s observations are skewed, at that moment, because the child is aware he/she is being tested. This introduces all kinds of variables into the mix.
Teachers are drawn away from the rest of the children during this testing time; where testing usually occurs in a room separate from distracting daily routine activities.
Teachers are even more involved.
One major difference is the method of observation adopted by the Teaching Strategies Gold tool. Instead of the teachers being removed from the group while the observation and evaluations happen, the children’s caregivers are drawn in closer to the group using keenly developed skills to identify every evidence of progress or difficulty in each of the 38 objectives, while the children are interacting naturally with their peers. Every day is like another and the children accept the routine of trained observations as part of the care teams genuine interest in them.
This method promotes maintain the children’s typical behaviors, responses, and level of performance without adding variables like testing stress, need to perform, and other environmental stimuli. Teachers are required to ensure that all children meet the evaluative checkpoints standardized throughout each year. This built-in assurance that no child falls through the cracks, and any problems observed can be staffed, and remedies adopted.
Documentation through photographs of the children performing a skill, demonstrating social behaviors and progress, during regular checkpoint periods, is a multi-dimensional look at child development. The captured progress is continuous over time, greatly contrasting a one-time, come in and sit down and answer multiple choice questions, type of “in-your-face” way of collecting data.
Is there Help Available for Transitioning to a Higher Standard?
The data entry and regular journaling takes time, but the preparation of evaluation materials for parent-teacher conferences for the entire class are automated. If observation data and checkpoints are updated regularly, the valuable information at their fingertips is worth the effort. Some teachers train their assistant staff to accurately enter the data during nap times or when the children are involved in structured activities with the teacher. There has been a learning curve in this area, as teachers become familiar with navigation of the software, reporting and documentation will take much less time.
Childcare and pre-school facilities can apply for long-term grant funding to get training and the Teaching Strategies Gold technology to implement this higher standard in their programs. State programs are investing in these ventures as they decide to adopt the benefits of this program.