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Assessing Children's Learning and Development

At Rye Country Day School assessment of individual children's development and learning is essential for planning and implementing appropriate curriculum. In developmentally appropriate programs, assessment and curriculum are integrated, with teachers continually engaging in observational assessment for the purpose of improving teaching and learning.


Accurate assessment of young children is challenging because their development is not always even and sequential. Rye Country Day School's developmentally appropriate assessment practices are based on the following guidelines:


  • Assessment of young children's progress and achievements is ongoing, strategic, and purposeful. The results of assessment are used to benefit children--in adapting curriculum and teaching to meet the developmental and learning needs of children, communicating with the child's family, and evaluating the program's effectiveness for the purpose of improving the program.

  • The content of assessments reflects progress toward important learning and developmental goals. The program has a systematic plan for collecting and using assessment information that is integrated with curriculum planning.

  • The methods of assessment are appropriate to the age and experiences of young children. Therefore, assessment of young children relies heavily on the results of observations of children's development, descriptive data, collections of representative work by children, and demonstrated performance during authentic, not contrived, activities. Input from families as well as children's evaluation of their own work are part of the overall assessment strategy.

  • Assessments are tailored to a specific purpose and used only for the purpose for which they have been demonstrated to produce reliable, valid information.

  • Decisions that have a major impact on children, such as referrals for special education, are never made on the basis of a single developmental assessment or screening device but are based on multiple sources of relevant information, particularly observations by teachers and parents.

  • To identify children who have special learning or developmental needs and to plan appropriate curriculum and teaching for them, developmental assessments and observations are used by public schools or private therapists.

  • Assessment recognizes individual variation in learners and allows for differences in styles and rates of learning. Assessment takes into consideration such factors as the child's facility in English, stage of language acquisition, and whether the child has had the time and opportunity to develop proficiency in his or her home language as well as in English.

  • Assessment legitimately addresses not only what children can do independently but what they can do with assistance from other children or adults. Teachers study children as individuals as well as in relationship to groups by documenting group projects and other collaborative work.


Types of Assessment

Classroom teachers use many forms of assessment during the year to monitor your child's development. These assessments include:


Observation (authentic assessments)

Teachers are keen observers. They support, facilitate and interact with young children through this process. They have been trained to carefully document observations of growth and development. These observations help teachers plan appropriate curriculum for each child and report growth and any concerns to parents


Screening Assessments

Teachers often use screening procedures to find out what children know and what they want to learn next. This screening is intentional and is used to find out specific information, such as:

Can they walk up and down stairs using alternating feet?

Have they established handedness (left or right)?

Can they use scissors correctly?

What letters can they identify?

Do they know their colors?

Can they count?


Child Portfolio Assessments

A folder with work samples collected throughout the year is carefully kept to assure both teachers and parents that documented growth is occurring during their early childhood years. These samples are often shared with the children so they can begin to see how Practice makes Progress. This documented sharing teaches perseverance, encourages personal best, and gives children the beginning understanding of the joy and purpose of learning.


At Rye Country Day School we believe strongly in early intervention. If we are concerned about a child's development, we will contact parents and share our observations and concerns. We will be strong advocates for the child and will be a support system for the family. We will recommend that the child go through a screening process at their receiving school district and will be happy to accompany parents through the process. If parents would prefer having their child screened by private professionals we will make recommendations for specialists that we have had experience with in the past.

How We Communicate With Our Rye Country Day Families!

  • Open House

  • All Schoool Picnics

  • Info/Welcome Evening for New Parents

  • Yearbooks

  • Child Portfolio

  • School Newsletter

  • Classroom Calendars

  • Weekly Good News Notes

  • Progess Reports

  • Parent/Teacher Conferences (2x year)

  • Yearly Parent Workshop for Transitioning Your Child to a New School

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