ADMINISTRATIVE OBSERVATION TOOL
Many elementary school principals are just beginning to develop their understanding of playful learning and appropriate practices in early childhood. They often are unsure what to expect or to look for when they visit PreK classrooms under their purview. To support principals, TPP has designed an observation tool for administrators and principals in assessing their early learning classrooms.
PRINCIPAL/TEACHER PRESCHOOL OBSERVATION CONFERENCES
Teaching Preschool Classrooms
The intention of this document is to provide information about the inquiry-based teaching and learning approaches practiced within Parkrose demonstration teaching preschools and to support principals and teachers as they work together with the goal of strengthening and sustaining high quality teaching and learning practices with young learners.
Part One: Goals and Indicators of High Quality Practice
This section identifies major goals of the preschool program and indicators that are visible (seen or heard) when the goals are in the process of being realized.
Part Two: Pre-and Post-Observation Conferences
This section provides topics and questions for the teacher and principal to consider and address prior to the classroom observation period (Pre-observation), and topics and questions to consider and address following the observation period (Post-observation).
PART ONE: GOALS AND INDICATORS FOR SUPPORTING AND SUSTAINING HIGH QUALITY PRACTICES
Goal 1: To create a classroom Social Environment where learning can thrive.
‘Social environment’ refers to the “feeling tone” of the room that is influenced by the interactions and communication taking place between adult-child and child-child.
Indicators of a Positive Social Environment
● Teachers have a calm demeanor, a positive, authentic tone of voice and smile often.
● Teachers express enjoyment of, interest in, and curiosity about the work/play of children.
● The communication between the teachers, support staff, family members and volunteers is observed to be cordial and respectful.
● Family members are invited and encouraged to visit the classroom and are welcomed as volunteers.
● A child’s social transgressions are treated by teachers as mistakes that the child can fix and offer opportunities for guidance and learning.
● Children are observed using positive strategies for playing and connecting with one another.
Note: All children will struggle at times to connect positively with others. However, evidence of children’s emerging knowledge and strategies for positive interactions with others are evident.
Goal 2: To design a classroom Physical Environment that welcomes ALL children, respects them and sustains learning.
‘Physical environment’ encompasses classroom furniture, floor areas, the objects, tools and materials that children can access, space dividers & shelving, storage areas as well as wall, bulletin board and window spaces that may serve to document children’s learning and display children’s thinking.
Indicators of a welcoming physical environment that promotes productive engagement and connects with children’s lives, cultures and interests
● The environment is aesthetically pleasing, well-organized, devoid of clutter and divided into multiple interest areas while allowing flexibility to support spontaneity.
● Children’s movement is guided by placement of furniture to avoid runways and bottlenecks. Visual cues communicate how many children can be in one interest area at a time.
● There are spaces for children to work alone, in pairs, small groups & total group gatherings.
● Each interest area contains appropriate furniture, materials, equipment and tools to support the intention of a specific area. The materials are organized in appealing, accessible ways.
● A rich variety of engaging, open-ended materials are accessible with limited reliance on commercial toys and games. A colorful array of materials from nature is present.
● The physical environment reflects the diversity of children’s families, cultures and languages through photos, images, signage, objects, children’s literature and documentation of learning.
● Visual cues, posters or displays inform adults (families, visitors) the intention of the work at hand.
● Display areas reflects and documents a strong, positive image of children, their thinking, ideas, imagination and works in progress.
To learn more or purchase this tool email firstname.lastname@example.org