Effective early childhood professionals spend time observing children and thinking about the types of experiences that will foster each child’s healthy development and learning. At every age, there are developmental milestones to keep in mind and “essential skills” to help build. Learning and teaching may take different forms at different stages in children’s lives, but what remains a constant is the challenge of taking into consideration that each child is an individual with varying interests and abilities.
One way to learn more about individual children is to collect information from the child and his or her family using an Interest Survey. With very young children, you can record your observations on children’s interests as well as ask family members to record theirs. Depending on the developmental levels of toddlers, you can, of course, also ask them to talk about their interests. As children grow older and are more adept at reflecting and communicating, interest surveys with open-ended questions not only can help you learn more of each child but also encourage them to be reflective and thoughtful about who they are.
For this Assignment, you will develop a tool for the purpose of collecting information to better understand the individual interests of children in an educational setting.
Consider if each aspect of the learning experience you observed was tailored in some way to a child’s interests and strengths. Review the sample Interest Survey questions provided in this module’s Learning Resources (Fenton) before completing this week’s Assignment.
Create your own Interest Survey that will maximize your knowledge of each child in a learning environment. This survey can be in any format, and address any age group from infants to age 8. For the younger children that cannot express their interests, please create an Interest Survey that the parents will complete. For children who can participate, ask children to contribute, include their families in the survey, and contribute your own observations as the educational professional working with them. Please include a 1- to 2-page rationale, in addition to the survey, that includes the following:
• What is the age range for the Interest Survey?
• How will children (or family members if applicable) complete the survey (in writing, orally, or by drawing)?
• Why have you selected these particular questions on the survey?
• How will you use the survey to inform future experiences to foster healthy development and learning?
• Because a survey is only one tool that can be utilized to learn about young children, how will you incorporate observation in conjunction with your survey to learn more about children’s interests?