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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Documenting assessment

Some assessment will be documented, but most of it will not. There should be a balance between documented and undocumented interactions, and the 2 kinds of interaction should be in tune with each other.

The phrase "assessment for learning" implies an assumption that we develop ideas about "what next?". (The exemplars include many examples of planning from assessments.) Usually the child will decide “what next?”. For example, a child may decide whether to repeat an attempt on a jigsaw that was successfully completed yesterday or to try a more difficult one. Teachers, often in negotiation with a learner, will also make decisions about "what next?" and how to respond to what the learner does. Most teachers’ decisions or negotiations will be undocumented and spontaneous, but there are good arguments for documenting some of the possible next steps.

The following documented assessment provides an example of an everyday context and routine being used as an opportunity for interaction and feedback – for noticing, recognising, and responding.

Blinking and clicking on the changing mat

The teacher (Sue) writes the following observation:

Jace was lying on the changing mat while I was changing him. I was blowing kisses with my mouth.

Jace began to imitate me and do the same action with his mouth.

I then winked at Jace and made a clicking sound with my mouth. Jace once again imitated me and carried out the actions also.

It was really amazing to watch Jace as he looked, listened, and then repeated the actions he saw and heard.

What next?

As well as making facial expressions and sounds, we can add words to what we are doing and encourage more oral language. This can be done throughout all aspects of routines and play.