There are many methods for monitoring children and young adults
There are many methods for monitoring children and young adults. These include observations, written records, assessments framework, information shared with work colleagues and children’s families, standard measurements.
For teaching assistants and practitioners should be essential understanding first the purpose of the observations they are going to make as part of their role. In fact, the information recorded has a very high value and need to be shared with the class teacher who will report it to the children’s parents and carers. Because each child is unique and has a particular set of abilities and talents, observations in different situations should be made to capture every particular trait that a child may possess. Observing what children choose to do trying to understand the reason, what their interests are and what resources they enjoy more during the play activities, provides practitioners and carers with a reliable amount of information about children as individuals. The “Observing What a Child is Learning” approach in the Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage document supports developing systematic observations.
The assessments should be made to keep track of the progress of children’s development. There are standard measurements that can be used by early years practitioners to determine the physical and cognitive growth and development of a child. Assessments in the Early Years Foundation Stage is of two main types: on-going assessments and summative assessments. The on-going assessments occur when practitioners make daily decisions about what information the child has acquired and what he can do. This type of assessment is sometimes called ‘formative’ because it informs about the next steps that could be planned with the child and his/her parents. The summative assessment takes place twice in the Revised EYFS. Firstly, this assessment takes place when a child is between 24 and 36 months (parents and practitioners use the information gained to identify the strengths and the learning needs of the young child); the second assessment takes place towards the end of the EYFS when children are in their final term of the reception class. This assessment should sum all the different information from the previous on-going assessments that have been made about the child.
There are also standard measurements, such as school tests and cognitive aptitude tests; these can display the children’s academic ability and their skills at learning and memorising information already taught and may be used to compare outcomes between a larger population of same-age children. For example, there are health assessments that can measure head circumference, weight, height and sensory functioning. Educational psychologists may use other reasoning tests to assess children’s intellectual age in contrast to their chronological age.
It is very important to share information with colleagues and parents that enable you to monitor children in the best effective way. In fact, colleagues’ expertise and the advice from parents and primary carers who certainly know the child can be very useful, especially when planning social activities and academic success for children with special educational needs and learning disabilities. When teaching assistants are concerned about a child’s development it is always good to ask and share information.