Kei Tua o te Pae
Kei Tua o te Pae/Assessment for Learning: Early Childhood Exemplars is a best-practice guide that will help teachers continue to improve the quality of their teaching.
The exemplars are a series of books that will help teachers to understand and strengthen children's learning. It also shows how children, parents and whānau can contribute to this assessment and ongoing learning.
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In Hinepau’s centre, the documented assessments are both collective and individual (and often dictated by the children). Te Whāriki includes the following statement:
"This curriculum emphasises the critical role of socially and culturally mediated learning and of reciprocal and responsive relationships for children with people, places, and things. Children learn through collaboration with adults and peers, through guided participation and observation of others, as well as through individual exploration and reflection."
There is an argument that, for some desirable outcomes, an assessment of the learning environment and the learning opportunities it offers are an essential part of each assessment. Although such an assessment might also be described as “evaluation”, holistic assessment includes the context. So the environment and the individual are closely woven together. Since the work of Lev Vygotsky, a number of writers have described classrooms and early childhood settings as “learning communities”, arguing that belonging and participating in “what we all do here and what we value” is a prerequisite for individual learning. Book 5 emphasises this connection with community.
Learning opportunities are necessary, although they may not be sufficient, for learning to take place. So an analysis of the learning environment or experience (for example, a trip, a visitor, or a project) will frequently be supplemented by examples of the children’s participation.
In this example, the children were asked for their comments about a trip to a Weird and Wonderful exhibition at the local museum.
Weird and wonderful
The teachers included a group story about the trip and its purpose in all the children’s portfolios and asked the children for their own assessments of the trip. These illustrated that the children found very different things of interest in what was apparently the same experience for them all.
“My name is George.
I am wearing my dragon shirt.
The bees were going outside.
I liked the crabs.
I liked it when the bees went outside. I sat next to my mum on the bus.”
“When I got on the bus, I was scared. My dad put on his sunglasses. I sat on the bus. I saw Jane on the bus.
She had her butterfly wings on. Fuka’s dad was driving the bus.”
“I liked the spiders in a glass cage. They were big. I liked looking at the spiders. I played in the sandpit. There were toys to play with.”