This is an essay about assessing children's learning through play, Kei Tua o te Pae/Assessment for learning: Early Childhood Exemplars, learning stories and how beneficial Kei Tua o te Pae and learning stories are to early childhood teachers.
Kei Tua o te Pae/Assessment for learning: Early Childhood Exemplars are extremely useful to any early childhood teacher at any level, from the student teacher, to the early childhood teacher with decades of experience as there are many different examples of assessing a child. Kei Tua o te Pae exemplar booklets are useful for a teacher to go back and study often so they can reinforce the different types of ways to assess a child.
Kei Tua o te Pae/Assessment for learning: Early Childhood Exemplars take on a sociocultural approach to assessment. The early childhood exmplars are based on the philosophies of Te Whāriki, New Zealand's bicultural early childhood curriculum. The four principals of Te Whāriki, Empowerment/Whakamana, Holistic development/Kotahitanga, Family and community/Whānau tangata, and Relationships/Ngā hononga, are the principles for assessment. Interwoven within the philosophy and the four principals are the five strands of Te Whāriki which are: Wellbeing/Mana Atua, Belonging/Mana Whenua, Contribution/Mana Tangata, Communication/Mana Reo, and Exploration/Mana Aotūroa (Ministry of Education. (2010).
The Kei Tua o te Pae resources are extremely valuable, they are a range of different books, 20 in total including different books for different assessments. The titles of assessment books that are included in the series are; Sociocultural Assessment, Bicultural Assessment, Children Contributing to Their Own Assessment, Assessment and Learning: Community, Assessment and Learning: Competence, Assessment and Learning: Continuity, Assessment for Infants and Toddlers, and Inclusive Assessment. With all these different assessment books available in the Kei Tua o te Pae resource, teachers should be knowledgeable in all aspects of assessing a child.
Within Kei Tua o te Pae/Assessment for learning: Early Childhood Exemplars, are examples of learning stories. Learning stories are "structured narratives that track children's strengths and interests" (Podmore, Valerie N. (2006). p64). With learning stories, the teacher observes, assesses, recognises the learning, reflects on that learning and then makes suggestions as to the next step for the child and their learning, this is also known as noticing, recognising and responding. Learning stories are structured around actions such as taking an interest, being included, perseverance when challenged, showing their feeling and making their point of views known, and taking responsibility (May, Carr & Podmore. (2010).
"Learning stories are an innovative way of assessing children's learning. Their strong focus on children's strengths and interests means that they are credit-based or 'identity-referenced' assessments" (Podmore, Valerie N. (2006). p68).