Saturday, February 25, 2017

Tot School: Play-based Assessment

That word used to give me the heeby-jeebies when I taught public school.
Now assessment means something totally different.
Play-based and present observation.

When I assess Sweet Pea and whether or not she knows a skill, I just observe her playing.  Playing! As a former public educator, playing in the classroom is not something incorporated into curriculum or worksheets.  Playing must be intentional but so much learning and fun will be had!  It's something I strived to do in my classroom, especially when I taught 6th grade Science, Math, and Social Studies.

Today I am a stay at home mom.
My little girl learns through play with the help of Mother Goose Time which we love.
She doesn't even realize she's learning, but she is.

What am I doing?
I am playing right alongside her.  Observing her.  Changing things as we go to either challenge her or simplify what we are doing.  Sometimes I just sit back and watch and just thank the Lord for little moments where I get to see her study.

Each month we go over 2-3 new letters, a new shape, and a new color with Mother Goose Time.
I love to combine these and make a game outdoors. We do this pretty often.  It's great time to play, work on fine and gross motor skills, exercise, enjoy the outdoors, and assess what she knows.

I draw shapes on the ground in different colors and place a letter we have learned inside the shape.  I ask my girl to run to a certain letter, or color, or get into a particular shape.  On this particular afternoon, Sweet Pea really wanted to play with her sand.  So I incorporated it!

"Can you pour sand onto the letter that has the /i/ sound? (short vowel)"- this was a challenge that she was able to do!
"Sweet Pea, can you pour sand on the letter R?"- easy to do
"Can you bounce on the letter B?"- working on jumping, a gross motor skill

Soon it was time to try something different with the sand... stamping! 
She worked on pressing shapes into the sand and seeing what was left behind.  I would ask her what shape it was, assessing if she knew what it was.  "Riangle"

 I am so impressed with all that she knows.
Sweet Pea's Sunday School teacher was amazed that Sweet Pea knew all her colors!  I'm amazed too.
I know a lot has to do with Mother Goose Time supplying us with such fun ideas and curriculum.  It's so nice to just open a bag instead of spending hours on Pinterest and coming back with nothing because I got distracted.  Tell me that happens to you too.

Want to see more fun or get great ideas?
Follow me on Pinterest or Facebook!

Happy Assessing!



  1. I have so many things pinned under "Preschool" on Pinterest. I am pretty sure I have done somewhere between zero and one of them. Mother Goose Time is such a blessing!

    1. ha! me too! You're right Rachel, it truly is a blessing!