By : Siti Nur Nadirah Ibrahim
Teachers and caregivers involved in early childhood education program have a huge impact on the quality of education, care and early learning experiences for young children. A child’s development can be assessed through a process of observation. Through this process of observation, teachers would be able to understand a child’s behaviour and assess their development particularly in the context of play. Acquiring meaningful learning experience during play can help children understand the issues around them without feeling pressured. Through play, children can express their views about their experiences naturally. With proper assessment process, teachers can identify children’s potential, strengths and weaknesses from time to time. Teachers in charge will make a fair assessment of each child. In the field of early childhood education, the assessment should not be conducted formally as exams, quizzes and so on. Assessment should be carried out in the form of an informal such as through observation, project-based learning, check list, and many more.
In handling assessment through play for children, the process of observation to the child can be carried out in three methods, namely the observation of behaviour, observation of conversation or interaction and also the observation of children’s work or children at play. Observation of conversation or interaction is an appropriate method to evaluate children while they play. During this process, teachers often appreciate the importance of play thus figuring out the way to find balance in ensuring children’s safety while helping them to develop a sense of their own autonomy.
Through play children will be engaged in variety of games which correlates their main domains such as the physical, social, cognitive and imagery. The games are played either individually, in groups or with adults. Through process of observation, teachers will not only know the material chosen by the children to play, but also see how children play with these materials. The invention is particularly useful to caregivers or teachers who are trying to create a quality play environment for the children.
Through this process of observation, teacher would be able to see growth in wide range of sosio-emotional development within the child such as:-
- Imagination – children begin to express ideas without restrictions.
- Fulfilling desires – play makes children feel happy to make their own
- Fun – play makes children happy and always keen to do something without force.
- Exploring – children learn things through play to fulfil the wishes.
- Create something – play stimulates children to produce inventive idea.
- Focus – the interest shown during play makes kids focus on doing something.
- Share – children learn tolerance and sharing toys with playmates.
- Responsible – children learn to be responsible when beginning, during and after play.
- Skilled – play repeatedly make children become more proficient with the activities carried out.
There are a lot of hidden and added value to be gained by children via assessment through play. Therefore, teachers need to plan carefully and use the main approach to suit the child. This is intended to ensure that the main activities to enhance understanding would make studying and learning more meaningful to the development and growth of children.