Assessment and Evaluation

All of our staff are trained on the proper methods of observation. Teachers carefully observe children as they engage in activities and document their progress. They also collect samples of their work, and photographic evidence to construct a portfolio. Teachers use this information to then complete an assessment tool which gives a "snapshot" of where your child is in different learning areas, such as social development, language and literacy, mathematical thinking, and physical development. Children enrolled in our preschool programs are assessed using Pearson's Work Sampling System, and infant's and toddlers are assessed using The Ounce Scale. Careful observation and documentation of children's activities also help us plan meaningful learning experiences not only for the entire class, but for each individual child.

Developmentally appropriate practice is crucial to a successful early learning experience. In addition to maintaining portfolios and assessments, we perform a developmental screening on each child, known as the Ages and Stages Questionnaire. This tool, completed with assistance from the child's family, helps us to see which milestones a child has achieved, as well as areas where a child may need support to master a skill. Each questionnaire is very age specific, and recognized by Keystone STARS and the School District of Philadelphia as a highly effective screening method.

Curriculum and Activities

Our curriculum, Funshine Express, and activities are framed by the PA Early Standards. The early learning standards are a guide to what children of certain ages should be learning. Simply put, they provide teachers with goals and strategies to support children's learning across the domains. For example, preschoolers are learning social studies when they visit the local market and learn of the exchange of money for products, or the purpose of government when they "vote" on different classroom topics. Language and literacy is supported through frequent teacher-led story times, and the all day access to books.

Mathematical thinking is expressed through activities such as block play, which encourages problem solving and spatial relations. Science is learned through hatching butterflies in the classroom (biology), or mixing household ingredients to create a "volcano" (cause/effect, chemistry).

We also promote the social and emotional growth of children by providing a safe and nurturing environment. Children gain social skills by taking on "jobs" in the classroom, and being encouraged to be an active participant in the classroom, by having appropriate access to classroom materials, and feeling confident to express themselves in their choice of activities.