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Book Review | Basics of Assessment: A Primer for Early Childhood Educators

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.

#writersblock #tips #organize

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:

  • On-the-spot definitions

  • 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:

  1. Easy to navigate

  2. Content is specific to early childhood education

  3. Can be used as a tool for teachers

  4. Can be used as a tool for leaders - training and guiding

  5. Adopts a holistic concept - not just about filling forms and ticking boxes

  6. 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.

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