This isn’t so much a blog post as it is a request for information.
As I’m not a qualified early childhood teacher of any stripe I’ve been wondering how to benchmark the Oh Waily children’s development.
This isn’t meant to say that I want to compare my kids with yours so much as I’d like to have some ballpark idea of what is normal and what isn’t.
For instance, I recall a friend telling me that the first week her son was at primary school he was bored stiff because they spent that time teaching the kids to count to ten. Now I know that there is a great deal of variance in each child’s capacity, but Miss Oh Waily can manage to count to twenty without too much trouble. Well, if you excuse the fact that the number 17 is sometimes absent without leave. Miss OWW is 3 years & 3 months old – is this an average skill level for a three year old?
And as for reading, well obviously she can’t do that just yet, but we do regularly sit and read four or five books for bedtime each night. Some of these picture books are 30 pages or more long. Is that the usual length of story that a three year old has the ability to sit and listen to? She seems to comprehend them after a few readings. (I read somewhere that kids need to hear the same story three times before it is all assimilated. If I can find the reference I’ll post it later.)
I know we’re having a big “up in arms” about the introduction of National Standards here in New Zealand, but personally I can’t understand why this should be the case other than the extra workload it may produce for the teachers involved. I haven’t actually heard any explicit detail of the arguments against it – just that there are people lining up to condemn it.
As a parent, personally, I’d like to know if my kids are doing okay. I’d like to know where I might be letting them down by not giving them time and exposure to ideas that are useful and basic to support any ongoing learning they are to do. And how do you do that without some sort of benchmark? No benchmark, no objectivity, no idea.
Just as a matter of interest the idea of formal assessment is a relatively foreign one to Montessori. This isn’t to say that the children aren’t assessed, they are meant to be constantly observed and notes are often taken regarding their activities. This allows the introduction of new activities to stretch the observed child’s skills. But tests and similar forms of assessment are not generally found in this environment.
Anyway, what I’m after is links to a genuinely useful guide to what the average skills of a pre-school aged child is.
Feel free to give your own opinions on what you consider “normal” or “average” skill levels to be too.
Oh, and thanks in advance for taking the time to reply. 🙂