Program Assessment: What is it and Why is it important?
If you are like most providers, your program will be reviewed at some point during the year through the use of an assessment tool. These assessments are very important because they help specialists and providers evaluate the learning environment and particularly the interactions between caregivers and children. Research has shown that these interactions are the key to quality in early childhood programs.
So how can Gee Whiz help you to prepare for these assessments? The answer is simple…by using the curriculum! At Gee Whiz, we are very aware of the two most commonly used program assessment tools and have built strategies into the curriculum.
Here are just a few examples:
Using Questions to Engage Children in Conversations: Each experience in the Gee Whiz curriculum contains questions you can ask to really get the children thinking AND encourage them to engage in back-and-forth conversations with you. This is not only an excellent way to build language skills, it is also a wonderful way for you to enhance development in many other areas as you promote higher-order thinking. In addition, if you are a current Gee Whiz customer, we encourage you to log in to your account so you can view our recorded, “Questioning Techniques That Work!” Webinar. This webinar is designed to help you build skills in the area of asking open-ended questions.
Planning for Learning: Having a plan is very important when it comes to learning. If you are using the Gee Whiz curriculum, you have a plan. All areas of development are addressed through the experiences in a way that is hands-on, flexible and, of course, fun! That said…the Gee Whiz curriculum also provides tools to help you complete anecdotal notes and reflections which you can then use to individualize the curriculum. This enables you to adapt, modify and add experiences based on the developmental level and interest of each child in your group.
Modeling Language: Research has shown that modeling language is very important for young children. When you talk and engage children in conversations or describe their actions, you are helping children build receptive and expressive language skills as well as future vocabulary. In addition, modeling language provides you with the opportunity to help children learn how language works. As adults, we often take this concept for granted but in order for children to learn how to put words together in a meaningful way, they need to hear adults do it! The Gee Whiz curriculum contains a complete section each day that helps you model language in your interactions with children. In addition, the individual experiences guide you through this process as well.
For those of you who are already utilizing the Gee Whiz curriculum, we challenge you to do this: compare the assessment tool that will be used to evaluate your program with the Gee Whiz curriculum. Put the scoring sheets and guidance side-by-side with the lesson plans and think about how utilizing the curriculum will help you in each area.
If you are not currently a Gee Whiz customer, here’s what you can do:
- Review the webinar on Connecting the dots under the Webinar Training tab.
- Compare the results of your most current assessment with the lesson plans. See if you can identify how using the curriculum could help you in areas where you may not have done as well as you would have liked.
Our goal at Gee Whiz is to provide all children with a high-quality, stimulating learning environment while giving providers a, “helping hand” at the same time. We are truly here to support YOU!
If you have any specific questions about how Gee Whiz can help you prepare for program assessment, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected].
The Gee Whiz Team