Early childhood education is a concept used to refer to the act of teaching a child outside his or her home with the help of a teacher or a tutor. Early childhood education takes the form of schooling the child in a formal setting away from home. Early childhood in most nations is undertaken at the age of below five years. Assessment on the other hand refers to the process of planning on how to equip a person with knowledge, attitudes and skills (Highscope, 2009). Early childhood education system requires assessment to determine the suitability of the various topics being taught and how they are applicable to the child.
This paper seeks to determine the commonly use assessment methods in early childhood education and the suitability of the Turkish curriculum. Different models have been discussed and they have laid the ground work on the suitability of each model and the role it plays on the mind of the child. Early childhood education should be a careful exercise as it sets the attitude and zeal of a young child. The models that are discussed in this paper include; Montessori, High Scope, project approach and Waldorf models. The different models are then compared with the Turkish curriculum as provided by the Turkish Ministry of National Education.
Curriculum Models and Assessment:
High Scope Curriculum Model & Assessment
The model dates back in the 1960s in Michigan, USA. The model uses a mixture of theory on child development and a teacher’s experience to assess and help child acquire knowledge and skills on different sectors. The model as its name suggests incorporates a high training that revolve thinking and performing activities independently. A child comes out as a problem solver through undergoing three assessment tools. These tools incorporate observation records as the child grows. The first is referred to as Infant Toddler Child Observation Record; the second one is called Preschool Child Observation Record. The final and last tool is used to measure literacy skills among children who have enrolled in Preschool (Highscope, 2009).
Montessori Curriculum Model & Assessment
The Montessori assessment model uses a different structure different from the high scope model. The model dates back in the early 20th century and it the teacher carries out the assessment in a class through observation and records. The model divides education into three parts namely, language and intellectual education, sensory and motor. The teacher prepares and sets the classroom environment with material that the children can relate to and can use them independently. The model has been praised with improving the level of self-discipline among children (Taylor &Nolen, 2008). The model's reliance on the use of hands model has been instrumental in improving the children sensory development. The teacher introduces different materials and records his or her observation about the child. The teacher then uses standardized assessment test to check the mastery and skillfulness of children and records the observation.
Waldorf Curriculum Model & Assessment
Waldorf curriculum model dates back its history in 1919 Stuttgart, Germany (Taylor &Nolen, 2008). The model signifies a teacher as a cultivator of a child’s soul and environment. The model seeks to strengthen the spiritual and the physical part of a child development from childhood to middle childhood and adulthood. A teacher lays the child development on balancing the three aspects of soul, spirit and body to strengthen his or her physical and spiritual wellbeing. The model emphasizes an imitative aspect where a child will imitate different aspects in the environment. In this way the teacher can assess the different development stages of the child’s life and how he or she understands and relates to the environment. Through this way the teacher can describe and analyze the child performance (Wortham, 2008).
Project approach & Assessment
The project Approach model is a common curriculum in many schools nowadays but its history date back in the 1960s and 1980s. The model uses projects laid out by teachers for the children to investigate and come up with an in-depth knowledge of the aspect investigated. The projects are introduced by teachers in the classroom where students in groups undertake the project on their own with the help of the teacher or the whole class. This model allows for intensive interaction between teachers and children where a number of skills are passed on to the child. The projects give the children hands on experience on the problem and they are able to develop their understanding better. The model at times uses informal techniques that improve involvement of all children in the class. The teacher makes observations on individual performance and a group and in that way advice on assessment. The model allows for extensive participation among children and thus they develop their skills and knowledge on problem solving (Taylor &Nolen, 2008).
Assessment in Turkish Ministry of National Education – Early Childhood Education Curriculum
The Turkish Ministry of National Education early childhood education curriculum is divided into three parts namely; assessment of the child, assessment of the program and the teacher self-assessment. The teacher in this curriculum must know the child very well and the different development characteristics he or she shows. Anecdotal records, standardized tests, observational forms and development reports are used to assess these different characteristics (Wortham, 2008). A teacher analyzes both objectives and goals of the various activities to be carried out and how the child perceives them. By so doing the teacher also analyzes their own effectiveness and progress in the various programs in the development stage.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Poor assessment can be dangerous to the development of the child as any mismatch between the programs can lead to poor development of the child mind and physical capability. Clear assessment tools should be used and applied in accordance with the instructions given under each curriculum. This paper has identified four main models that have been used in assessing the early childhood education in different countries. Each model has its own clearly defined system and it provides an assessment platform for both the teacher and the student in a classroom setting. It’s thus very important for teachers to assess the different curriculum models before incorporating it in the classroom to avoid mismatch.
Apart from the High Scope model the rest of the assessment models do not give a defined curriculum that facilitates early childhood education. For example the Montessori, Project approach and Waldorf do not provide a clear assessment of how early childhood education should be undertaken in children. Assessment of early childhood education should have a defined framework that seeks to find the weakness and the strengths of a given curriculum applied in early schools. A given curriculum should have a framework that seeks to provide information and learning ideas that a child can picture and relate to. The rest of the models fail to define a framework with structures in place to pass information to children.
Highscope (2009). Assessment. Retrieved December 20th, 2009, from http://www.highscope.org.
Taylor, C. S. &Nolen, S.B. (2008). Classroom Assessment supporting Teaching and Learning in Real Classrooms. New Jersey, Pearson
Wortham, S.C. (2008). Assessment in Early Childhood Education. Upper Saddle River, N.J., Pearson Merril.