This is me; under construction
Date du début: 1 sept. 2015,
Date de fin: 31 août 2017
The evaluation of preschool children’s learning in preschools in Europe often focuses on what they cannot do and on specific outcomes instead of taking a holistic approach on their strengths, talents and interests. Young children are also being tested in preschools in a narrow fashion all over Europe and this can have a negative effect on the children and their enjoyment of school and of lifelong learning (Carr, 2001,2002; Robinson, 2013). Teachers and parents are concerned that the strengths, interests and talents of children are not being noticed (Carr, 2001,2002; Robinson, 2013; Dockett, 2008; Edwards, Gandini, and Forman, 1993; Hargreaves, 1994). Nor the different learning styles children have and how they are being met. Many teachers want to take a holistic approach and focus more on children’s strengths and talents when evaluating their learning in cooperation with fellow staff, parents and the children themselves. They are looking for methods that they can use and show how talented each child is and eager to learn in its own way. Evaluation like that also helps school staff to better the quality of preschool activities and better meet each child’s learning needs and styles.
The 15 preschool teachers that will participate in the project are from five preschools in four countries. They have all focused on MI in their preschools and emphasize the strengths and talents of children in their work. They all find it hard to evaluate the children’s learning with narrow testing and checklists and feel they need methods that better suite their way of teaching and learning. They have all many years’ experience as preschool teachers and some experience in training other teachers.
In this project the preschool teachers will meet on six different locations and take part in teacher training and learning activities. These activities will include a seminar on Learning stories in Iceland that is a method used to evaluate children’s learning. The teachers will also learn and get training in listening to children’s voices in a active manner with methods called the Mosaic approach. In this way they can include children in the evaluation of their strengths, talents and learning. The teachers will also get training and see best practices regarding pedagogical documentation from experts and preschools in Sweden that have developed the methods for some time. To better understand the Multiple Intelligences and talents of children two activities will be held in Belgium for the teachers. In both activities teachers will learn how to develop and evaluate children’s strengths and talents. In Norway the focus will be on parent’s participation in the evaluation of children’s learning an how teachers create a learning community in their preschools. Dialogue and deliberation among staff, parents and children about children’s learning and evaluation are the foundations in a preschool learning community.
The teachers will also look at best practices in each country. They will visit preschools that have worked with Learning stories, the Mosaic approach, pedagogical documentation, Multiple Intelligences and children talents and preschools that have involved parents in the evaluation process and preschools that have a live learning community amongst the staff, parents and children. The teachers will also learn ways in best accumulation different data on the children’s learning and gather in a Portfolio.
A website with evaluation guidelines will be made public to teachers around Europe. The guidelines will reflect what the teachers have learned in the activities mentioned above. The guidelines will guide teachers in using holistic open ended evaluation methods in cooperation with staff members, parents and children in the preschools.
On the website there will also be recommendations for policy makers in Europe for practice and recommendations on how to use alternative evaluation methods instead of narrow test and checklists. The project will also contribute to the discussion on developing evaluation methods to monitor children’s learning and quality in pre-primary education in Europe.
By acknowledging the Multiple Intelligences and children’s talents and strengths and structure the preschool activities around that the quality of the early childhood education and care will be enhanced. The project will strengthen the profile of teachers with better knowledge about different methods in evaluating children’s learning. And with the view that children are capable learners the teachers will heighten the children’s and their confidence and self-knowledge. In doing so, children in Europe will experience school and learning in a more positive way and will want to stay in school for a longer time and become lifelong learners.
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