Maryland’s Birth to K System of Services for Young Children with Disabilities and Their Families – Legislative Booklet
Having access to services is critical for all children preparing to enter elementary school. Funkstown School for Early Childhood Education in Hagerstown has taken a winning approach to supporting the whole child.
Just as children are complex, so, too, are the programs that serve them. Early childhood programs vary in terms of staff, overarching mission, assessment tools used, sources that drive what children should be learning, the adopted curriculum, how progress and performance are measured over time, and the leadership and support providers receive.
One term that is misused the most, or maybe, misguides practice the most is standardized. Somehow, when countries determined educational reform was in order, thriving systems chose personalized learning and the US chose a standardized approach.
On a daily basis, I witness early childhood professionals and state leadership teams making decisions from assessment results. I hear people talking about how they will evaluate a teacher’s performance, whether or not children from a district are ready for Kindergarten, and if a program is meeting various quality indicators.
Early development is complicated, variable, and highly dependent upon a number of factors including, relationships with responsive adults, quality nutrition, limited exposure to toxins (including stress), and opportunities to play and explore.
The golden rule when it comes to testing (or as we say in early childhood, assessing) is to use tools for the purposes for which they were designed.
In early childhood, we don’t often use the words test or testing … we tend to use the words evaluation, assessment, or progress monitoring.
Follow pathways to all the ways to narrow the gap for children and students with disabilities.
Partnerships allow for shared knowledge, prevent duplication of efforts, and increased credibility in decision making. When families and early child care professionals partner the results are increased positive outcomes for children.