The Development of Citizen Competences Since Kindergarten: How do Assessment Practices of Childhood Educators and Children's Families Contribute to Children's Development?

Leal, Rita; Costa, Nilza
June 2009
International Journal of Learning;2009, Vol. 16 Issue 3, p219
Academic Journal
Given the complexity of today's society, it's necessary to change the learning process since kindergarten, placing the learner in a more active role. This complexity leads us to the need to develop competences that every citizen of the twenty-first century should have. Considering that the education of citizens begins from the moment they're born, the first level of Education (preschool) assumes a vital role. Thus, based on the basic knowledge identified by Cachapuz, et al. (2004) and placing it in context within Preschool Education in Portugal, four competences that children should develop in Preschool Education were defined and validated in a preliminary phase of the research. In accordance with what some authors defend (Gaustad, 1996; Katz, 1997) one of the ways to increase the development of competences is through learning assessment by childhood educators and family, and this is what we focus our research on. Using a case study methodology, within a kindergarten context, and in which sources and data collection techniques are used (interviews; natural observation of practices; documental analyses), we seek to find a more global vision of learning assessment based on the development of competences. Within education policies in Portugal for Preschool Education, assessment is considered an integral part of the teaching and learning process. Assessment should serve the curriculum and learning process, backing up all the educational intentions and decisions (ME, 1997). According to some authors (Gaustad, 1996; Zabalza, 2000) for the assessment of learning to be authentic it needs to result from different visions and from sharing and negotiating with all the elements that are a part of the process. Thus, family has a primary importance in Preschool Education assessment, because we cannot know each child's interests and needs if we do not consider the family to be a privileged source of information.


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