How do you measure learning at the preschool level? With this age group, the measuring is in observation and conversation. And in a preschool program that focuses on social skills, growth becomes apparent through very keen observation. The evaluation can really only be relevant when done by someone familiar with the child, with a knowledge of the child’s “baseline.” For example, in the mind of a casual observer, the verbal objections from one child to another may translate to selfishness or rigidity. However, to the teacher who knows the children well, that verbal exchange may signal a milestone for the protestor, who is now articulating her frustrations rather than hitting or grabbing or stomping away.
At KSELC, we are delighting in all the growth we are seeing. For six months, we have been patiently reminding children to use their words when they face a “situation” with a classmate. So, when something is brewing, we are eager to watch and listen to see how it will be handled. Often, the children have not yet claimed negotiating skills or mastered their own verbage. But when they begin to, witnessing their interpretations of teacher modeling is both a.) rewarding and b.) adorable.
A couple of weeks ago, two girls bumped into each other. One cried out “You hurt me!” The other stopped, took her friend by the shoulders, looked at her and kissed her forehead. After a brief hug, all was well and they were back at play.
Last week, a child who typically needs reminders to clean up her lunch spot and put her things away, quietly did it all, without any prompting. Suzi and I commended her, and quietly rejoiced. An insignificant act to a casual observer, but to us, something to take a small bit of pride in. She may or may not do it again for a while, but we will continue to offer gentle reminders, and recognize the small actions or words with a conscious acknowledgement, and head each child toward their next individual milestones.