Get a cup of coffee and maybe a tylenol. I need to spill.
Tonight were our required assessments for our state funded program. Don’t get me wrong, I am not looking the gift horse in the mouth but….
We are told that having children sit for more than 10 minutes is not appropriate. We are told they shouldn’t even really KNOW letters and letter sounds at this point and definitely not be expected to write them or read them. We are told that having them stand in a line is wrong – especially without a proper transition. ( That is preschool talk with magically pulling something out of your pocket to entertain them while they wait. Have you ever been inside and heard me sing as we stand in line ” Everybody touch your nose , touch your nose, touch your nose…. ” That is a transition. ) We are told that social skills and developing independence and confidence are what we should really focus on . SO WHY ARE WE USING STANDARDIZED TESTING? I know.. I know.. funding . Funding requires proof that the money is well placed and making a difference. Is that not SOME OTHER way we can do this ?
The past 5 years I have done my own assessment at home over 4 or 5 days a few kids at a time. I still didn’t enjoy it. The kids didn’t enjoy it for the most part. I called it a game so I kinda tricked them. But we got through it. This year we have two new programs that have received funding so we decided that collaborating to do our assessments would be a good idea. It would go by faster. We would not have to waste ” school time” to get them done. Beth and Linda have not been trained on the DIAL THREE so I could help them and show them how to do the testing and assist in the scoring. Good idea? Right? Great collaboration. It was a dream. We staggered the times our kids would come in so there would not be a rush or anyone having to wait. We had the paperwork ready to fill out and our stations were set up.
KIDS SCREAMING AND RUNNING AND SCARED AND NOT TALKING , NOT ANSWERING !
As I looked around tonight at all the kids and the families and the lines they were standing in I was appalled and so sad. What was a dream assessment night turned into everything that family childcare is not.
We are personal. We know our families. We know our kids. Our kids are comfortable with us. This was not fun. This didn’t create a memory. Normally parents are not with me when we do assessments. I was not prepared for parents reactions of having their children assessed in front of them. I saw a mom leave angry .. really angry at her child because she would talk to us. STRANGERS…. As I tried to help in fill in the gaps where I was needed to ease the lines and assure the parents that is was OK if their child didn’t know the things on the assessment , it is just to get a baseline of where they are when we start preschool, I had this feeling of overwhelming failure. I have to laugh as I think of standing by one of my moms with a marker for something and tried to write with the cap on. I am sure she thought ” Debbie, are you ok? Take a chill pill. Even THREE YEAR OLDS know to take the cap off. ” Such a frustrating afternoon on so many levels.
I didn’t like the testing.
I didn’t like taking the close personal family feeling out of our setting .
Kids are a treasure and tonight we treated them like cattle.
Parents, I am sorry you were part of that. I can’t take the test away but I can lessen the blow by administering it in our own environment ( home ) one on one with your child as we sit around my dining room table with happy children’s voices in the background, the smell of spaghetti and garlic bread from the kitchen and a smiling monkey picture ( my favorite ) on the wall.
Ill be ok. I can’t wait to start school tomorrow and make up for the insane afternoon we all had. You know I don’t drink but I did eat some onion rings and had a slice of buttered toast.
Tonight equals a lesson learned the hard way. You can take the girl out of the home but you can’t take the home ( Family Home Childcare ) out of the girl.