Effective Selection and Planning for Assessment
How to Assess Play
The kindergarten group consists of young children aged between two and four years. The kindergarten children are also known as “playgroups” because they spend much time at the gardens for the purpose of play and companionship. Play is essential in kindergarten because it builds imagination and creativity, fosters cognitive growth, and builds the children’s behaviors and emotions. Play improves children’s literacy levels, promotes independence in daily activities, and improves physical fitness to enable the children to lead healthy lives. The benefits of play outweigh the risks; thus, parents and educators should encourage the kindergarten group to engage in more play (Rowley, 2015).
Play builds creativity and imagination when the children create make-believe games and get lost in pretend worlds. The children imagine themselves in a fantasy world and act out different solutions to boost their confidence and survive in the imagined worlds. Play enables children to imagine one subject as another and uses objects to represent other objects; for example, they can use a stick instead of a spoon or a bowl for a pot. Play promotes brain development by increasing neural connections in the brain to enable children to think and act with maturity. They play to reduce anxiety, irritability, and stress and boost joy and self-esteem. Like adults, kindergarten children require activities to acquire behavioral and emotional benefits (DeLuca et al., 2019).
Play improves literacy by helping the children learn new words from the play environments as described by adults. Children pay more attention to classwork and other daily activities after unstructured play. They develop independence by deciding what to do during play instead of waiting for direction from the teachers and parents. Play enables students to create their own experiences and learn how to live with others, and tackle other tasks together. Physical play promotes children’s physical fitness and development. They sharpen reflexes, improve gross motor skills and increase cardiovascular function. Play improves a kindergarten’s mental system (Danniels et al., 2020).
The developmentally appropriate practices related to kindergarten play assessment include determining the children’s ability to master letters and numbers, know the sounds of each letter, and identify sight words. Assessment in play will include the teachers observing the children as they play alone or with others and analyzing their reactions based on various play activities. The assessments enable teachers to determine appropriate play-based interventions. Teachers gather authentic assessment data based on how children solve problems, regulate emotions and interact with peers. Assessors respect each child’s age and individual needs to create a sense of belonging and involvement and boost the children’s cognitive and mental fitness. Other practices include model reading and writing behavior, responsive conversations, and nurturing individual children’s relationships (Pyle et al., 2020).
The assessments are looking for authenticity and conceptual benefits of kindergarten play. The teachers learn the children’s cognitive development and measure objective behaviors by examining cross-domain kindergarten relationships. Assessment enables teachers to determine kindergarten’s social-emotional, learning approaches and language developmental areas and support the children through the various growth stages. The assessments help the teachers communicate important children’s development milestones to the parents and guardians or directly to the children. Parents and teachers work together to improve children’s welfare mental and cognitive skills. Kindergarten evaluation is essential in determining children’s growth and functioning. Assessment tracks children’s growth and development and helps teachers and parents to make informed decisions about improving their children’s lives (Kelly-Vance & Ryalls, 2020).
Danniels, E., Pyle, A., & DeLuca, C. (2020). The role of technology in supporting classroom assessment in play-based kindergarten. Teaching and Teacher Education, 88, 102966.
DeLuca, C., Pyle, A., Roy, S., Chalas, A., & Danniels, E. (2019). Perspectives on Kindergarten Assessment: Toward a Common Understanding. Teachers College Record, 121(3), 1-58.
Kelly-Vance, L., & Ryalls, B. O. (2020). Play-Based Approaches to Preschool Assessment. In Psychoeducational Assessment of Preschool Children (pp. 160-177). Routledge.
Pyle, A., DeLuca, C., Danniels, E., & Wickstrom, H. (2020). A model for assessment in play-based kindergarten education. American Educational Research Journal, 57(6), 2251-2292.
Rowley, B. (2015). Kindergarten assessment: Analysis of the child behavioral rating scale (CBRS).