Preschool & School Readiness
The Project Approach
The Baby Vine preschool classroom implements the Project Approach, which is also a method used in some Minneapolis Elementary Schools. The Project Approach builds up each students’ confidence, natural curiosity, and cultivates ones’ disposition to explore and discover the world. Specific teaching strategies are utilized by the teacher to determine students’ areas of interest and study, and guide students through in-depth investigations on real-world topics. The approach follows a flexible schedule to keep the interests of the students as the main focus; the teaching and learning is an interactive process, and students are active participants in their own education. Seeing themselves as active participants in their learning empowers students to continue these practices in their elementary school setting. The Project Approach helps students become school ready and confident in their own abilities. Students learn through first hand observation, hands-on experiences, personal reflection, and real-world exposure, when applicable. The Project Approach naturally integrates content knowledge and skills across disciplines, helping students see and make cross-curricular connections. Due to each child’s investment in the learning, students produce high-quality work and grow as individuals and collaborators.
Assessment of Child Progress
At the Baby Vine, preschoolers are assessed using progress monitoring tools. Progress monitoring is a scientifically based practice that is used to assess students’ academic performance and evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. Progress monitoring can be implemented with individual students or an entire class. Our preschool assessments evaluate how each child is doing in various skill areas including: gross motor skills; fine motor skills; eye-hand coordination; recognition of letters, shapes, numbers, and colors; speech skills including articulation and how well the child expresses him or herself; social skills, including the ability to cooperate, take turns, and make friends; how a child is able to transition between activities; knowledge of personal information, including address, phone number, and names of parents and/or caregivers.
Depending on the method used, the assessment can be formal or informal. We take anecdotal notes of preschooler’s behavior, interactions, and academic areas to keep a record of the child’s growth in all developmental domains, which can then be included when completing a semi-annual formal assessment which is shared at parent/guardian conferences. Based on the results of the assessment, we will fine-tune our lessons and instructions to better suit the needs of the child. If there is a deficiency in any area, we can also provide parents or caregivers with necessary resources to help the child improve or work on their skills. Alternatively, if a child shows great strength in a particular area, results of an assessment can identify where a child is especially strong, and give parents ideas on how to encourage a child's continued growth.