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Early Childhood Center

Early Childhood Center
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Our assessment system is grounded in the concept of developmentally appropriate, authentic assessment as the most reliable means for gaining credible information about what and how children are learning and progressing across all the developmental domains. Therefore, assessment is conducted in settings familiar and comfortable for children and by adults they know and trust.


      • Gather information using multiple means that are culturally respectful, meaningful, authentic, and accurate
      • Describe each child's development and learning

      • Provide families with comprehensive and relevant information about progress and/or indicators that referral is needed for extended diagnostic evaluation

      • Identify children's interests and needs

      • Make appropriate instructional decisions and adaptations for each child

      • Use assessment results for program improvement

      • Communicate effectively with parents as partners in their child's early childhood education


Primary methods include:

Kids at a light table
      • Observation

      • Anecdotal records

      • Skills Checklists (Teaching Strategies GOLD Assessment System)

      • Developmental screening (Ages & Stages Questionnaire)

      • Family surveys (Child Information Form)

      • Interest inventories

      • Performance assessments

      • Work Sampling

      • Informal & written communication

      • Developmental narratives

When warranted, additional formal and/or informal methods that may be used include:

      • Running records

      • Behavior checklists

      • Time/event sampling

      • Video/audio recording

      • Standardized testing


Assessment begins prior to the child's initial enrollment with parent surveys and family orientations and continues throughout the academic year, with assessment information for each child maintained in a portfolio that moves with the child through the program from teacher to teacher. The teachers conduct formal parent/teacher conferences or home visits once each semester and maintain close, informal contact with families throughout the year.


Because ECC is a demonstration school; there are many students and members of the community visiting ECC and doing observations, research, and practicum activities. During these activities, strict family confidentiality is preserved. Children are identified to observers by first name only. ECC complies with all federal confidentiality requirements as outlined by the university's policies for compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Children with Special Needs

Children are accepted for enrollment assuming that a) the child is able to benefit from the ECC program, b) the child's behavior does not pose a significant threat to the health and/or safety of the other children or staff, and c) parents abide by our policies and cooperate with and support our efforts to meet their child's individual needs.

In Illinois, Department of Human Services provide early intervention services through Child and Family Connections (birth-3) and the Child Find (3-5) screenings are funded through the Illinois State Board of Education and delivered through local school districts.

If an enrolling child has already been identified with special needs, ECC staff meets with the family and external professional resource staff to review the IFSP or IEP. If our assessments and collaboration with families indicate the need for additional screening or developmental evaluation, parents are encouraged to initiate the Child Find process.

Communicating Assessment Information

Teachers maintain ongoing verbal, electronic, and informal written communications with families about both group and individual child progress. Teachers conduct conferences with each family once per semester, at which time all assessment information from the semester is reviewed and a detailed summary progress checklist and narrative report based on the Teaching Strategies GOLD Assessment System and IL Early Learning Standards is shared and discussed.

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