The ELLM/Plus curriculum recognizes that children’s development and learning progresses on a continuum, that growth is often uneven and takes place in “fits and spurts,” and that learning takes place through interactions with adults and other children in many different kinds of settings rather than working in isolation.
The ELLM/Plus curriculum is designed to provide children with multiple opportunities to engage in explicit instruction. ELLM/Plus also provides additional assistance and practice with emerging knowledge and skills. The ELLM/Plus curriculum helps teachers reach all children by giving them reasons for what they are learning, giving them information, letting them try new skills with support and feedback, giving children opportunities to practice, and letting children teach what they have learned to others.
The ELLM/Plus Informal Assessment Guide for Classroom Teachers provides a set of tools designed to help caregivers and teachers (a) gain important information about children’s progress that can be used to plan future learning experiences and shared with parents, (b) create learning-rich environments in their classrooms, and (c) think about their own teaching and consider ways in which it might be strengthened. The tools are not designed to identify children with special needs, determine the effectiveness of early childhood programs, nor make high-stakes decisions about individual children or teachers.
The ELLM/Plus Informal Assessment Guide for Classroom Teachers includes two sections. The informal assessment tools in Section I focus on tools teachers can use to assess children’s progress. Section II provides teachers and caregivers with ways to carry out informal assessment of their own teaching and the environment in which they teach. Assessment instruments and directions for use are included in each section.
Section I: Charting Children’s Progress includes four tools: (1) Learning Progress Chart; (2) Readiness Progress Snapshot; (3) Journal Writing and Learning Portfolios; and (4) Classroom Letter Recognition Kit. These tools rely on caregivers’ and teachers’ observations of children in a variety of settings.
Section II: Creating Learning-Rich Environments is made up of two components: (1) the physical space of the classroom and (2) the kinds of learning experiences teachers plan and implement with their children. The accompanying tools include: (1) Classroom Environmental Checklist, (2) Guided Learning Center Checklist, (3) 4 Targeted Instructional Strategy (TIS) Checklists, and (4) Thinking About My Day: A Review. These tools can be used by caregivers and teachers to create learning-rich classroom environments.
Assessments are designed to guide and support teacher understanding of the different learning needs of children. Results of children’s informal assessments, observing children at work and at play, and talking with families about their children’s development and learning should guide planning and implementing daily instruction.
Teacher reflection instruments help teachers ask and answer the following questions:
- What do I need to help children learn, individually and as a group?
- Did my children learn the skills and knowledge I taught?
- What do I need to do to ensure children are learning?
- How do I adapt the curriculum and/or my teaching to address the needs of children experiencing difficulty or the child who is ready to move forward?
Assessment of young children is an ongoing process that requires (1) careful observation of children at work and at play, (2) listening to children as they work and play together, (3) taking notes or using informal checklists, (4) reflection on instructional practices, and (5) using this information to chart children’s progress and decide how to best help children continue to learn and thrive. Teachers and caregivers can support children’s learning and development using assessment.