Alabama Pathways

Child Observation and Assessment

What do high quality caregivers, teachers and administrators need to know?

Pathways Core Knowledge Areas are distinct categories of study that prepare early childhood professionals to facilitate children’s learning and development.  For each Core Knowledge Area, there are competencies defining a progressive attainment of understanding, knowledge and skills  As early childhood professionals advance in their careers, the content (competency objective) of the training will become more advanced based on what the professional needs to know at his/her level of experience.Alabama Pathway has adopted eight (8) Core Knowledge Areas with related basic, intermediate and advanced competencies.

Core Knowledge Area: 

Child Observation and Assessment (Planning for Individual Needs): Understand methods for observing children’s development, behavior and progress; know how to observe and assess what children know and can do; know how to document children’s growth, development, and learning; know how to use informal and formal assessments to plan activities and individualize programs in order to provide curriculum that meets each child’s developmental and learning needs.

Rationale: In early care and education programs, teachers provide for the inclusion of children with special needs by implementing practices that adhere to local, state and federal regulations. Programs reflect an inclusive philosophy that provides for accommodation and participation by children with special needs and their families. Programs have the ability to access community support services to meet the needs of children and families.

Assessment of young children in early care and education programs requires different approaches from those used with older children. Decisions that have a major impact on children are based primarily on information obtained from ongoing observations in natural settings by a team of teachers, family members, and others professionals. Early childhood teachers must develop observation skills, appropriate documentation and assessment techniques, and methods of reporting to family members. Sole reliance on standardized measures for making educational decisions about young children is inappropriate.

BASIC:

COA-1 Demonstrates a developing awareness of children with special needs by emphasizing the similarities among children who are developing typically and those with special needs.

COA-2 Demonstrates a developing awareness of the concept of inclusion by supporting inclusive practices with all children.

COA-3 Demonstrates an understanding of how to make accommodations to materials, equipment and curriculum to support children’s learning in all developmental areas by adapting to meet individual and special needs.

COA-4 Demonstrates a developing awareness of the special needs of children and families by identifying various services and disciplines (such as speech and language therapy, physical and occupational therapy, and mental health) which provide related services.

COA-5 Demonstrates the developing ability to adapt the curriculum by following a plan to accommodate children with special needs in compliance with the Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) and/or Individualized Education Plan (IEP) designed for each child and his/her family.

COA-6 Demonstrates a developing awareness of children with special needs by complying with the federal and state regulations regarding special education services with children and families with special needs.

COA-7 Demonstrates a developing awareness of appropriate assessment of young children by defining terms such as screening, informal and formal assessments, evaluation, and testing.

COA-8 Demonstrates a developing awareness of appropriate assessments of young children by using assessment strategies in natural settings, including observation, to develop a complete description of each child.

COA-9 Demonstrates a developing awareness of appropriate assessments of young children by the use of developmental assessments of children’s progress and achievement to provide appropriate activities, identify children with special needs and communicate with parents. ·

COA-10 Demonstrates a developing awareness of appropriate assessments by completing authentic and appropriate assessments of young children in natural settings.

INTERMEDIATE:

COA-11 Demonstrates knowledge of children with special needs by planning and implementing programs that emphasize the similarities between children who are developing typically and those with special needs.

COA-12 Demonstrates knowledge of children with special needs by identifying atypical development and risk-factors which might lead to developmental delays and make appropriate referrals when necessary.

COA-13 Demonstrates knowledge of children with special needs by selecting and using materials that are stimulating to each child and suitable to individual learning styles, varying developmental levels and special needs.

COA-14 Demonstrates knowledge of children with special needs by collaborating with other disciplines such as occupational therapists, physical therapists and speech therapists that provide related services within the learning environment to young children and their families.

COA-15 Demonstrates the ability to adapt curriculum content by including development of Individual Family Service Plans (IFSP’s) and/or Individualized Education Plans (IEP’s) for children with special needs through the team process with families and other team members.

COA-16 Demonstrates the ability to support young children’s learning in all developmental areas by adapting the environment to meet the individual and special needs in ways that are predictable but flexible.

COA-17 Demonstrates the ability to apply authentic assessment methods to individual children’s behavior by observing and interpreting children within natural settings.

COA-18 Demonstrates knowledge of appropriate assessments of young children by using the assessments of the children when planning programs, activities and environments for young children.

COA-19 Demonstrates partnerships with families and, as appropriate, multi-disciplinary team members by involving them in assessing the child’s development, strengths and needs and in setting goals for the child as well as the ability to report assessment results to families in a clear and supportive way.

ADVANCED:

COA-20 Demonstrates the development and articulation of a personal philosophy of acceptance and inclusion of all children by affirming the similarities between children who are developing typically and those with special needs.

COA-21 Demonstrates knowledge of risk-factors, developmental patterns with specific disabilities, medical aspects and neurological factors of children with special needs by identifying characteristics of children with special needs, making appropriate referrals and working with staff and parents to plan individual accommodations to the program.

COA-22 Demonstrates the appropriateness of materials and equipment by observing each child’s individual learning style, developmental level, special needs and applying findings when selecting, adapting and utilizing materials and equipment.

COA-23 Demonstrates knowledge of all state and federal regulations (such as confidentiality, prior notice, evaluation and assessment, IFSP’s, IEP’s, referrals, least restrictive environment, inclusion, the ADA, etc.) by adherence with all laws, regulations, policies and procedures regarding special education services for children with special needs and by informing staff, parents and the community of the program’s inclusive policies.

COA-24 Demonstrates the ability to assist families by encouraging and arranging for the regular provision of a variety of related services (including speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, mental health services and medical services) in the learning environment for young children with special needs and their families.

COA-25 Demonstrates knowledge of appropriate assessments of young children by interpreting and using assessment information for curriculum planning, designing the program environment and for follow-up activities with other disciplines, when needed, such as speech/language pathology, physical or occupational therapy, sociology, social work, health professions and nutritionists.

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