Updated: Dec 26, 2020
The 'Basics of Assessment: A Primer for Early Childhood Educators' is an NAEYC publication. The National Association for the Education of the Young Child ('NAEYC'), is based in the U.S. However, the book exemplifies best practices for any setting within early childhood education, regardless of curriculum content. I believe good practice is good practice wherever it shows up in early childhood education ('ECE').
For this book, which reads as a guide, I will be looking at three areas - Reader-Friendly Features; What Works Well and some Highlights.
It's worth mentioning that this book is particularly helpful for educators new to the profession, as well as leaders who can use it as a foundation for training teams in the art of assessing preschoolers; in the U.S. that is children between the ages of birth to 8 years.
Reader Friendly Features
This is a short read and that's a good thing for most ECE practitioners. We just want to get to the point, glean what's vital, put it into practice and keep aiming for improvement. Here are a few of the features that stood out:
Easy-to-note Information in Boxes
Good practical examples
A glossary of terms
References to Additional Resources
What Works Well
A lot works well in this primer. It's handy in terms of size to carry around; there are only 115 pages; terminology is concise and light; it's a good resource for planning presentations or practice sessions; it's an easy go-to source for new teaching staff. In fact for anyone new to the profession, I would certainly put it on the book list for induction. Here are some other factors:
Easy to navigate
Content is specific to early childhood education
Can be used as a tool for teachers
Can be used as a tool for leaders - training and guiding
Adopts a holistic concept - not just about filling forms and ticking boxes
Informal and somewhat comical illustrations
Defining the why of assessments
Linking assessment to developmentally appropriate practice (' DAP')
Explains How to gather information about children
Provides sample forms
Incorporates photographs of documents
Is decidedly relevant and on topic, regardless of the curriculum
Provides links to planning
Patricia Mezu is the founder of Content With Words.