“Assessment is a comprehensive process. It can measure many aspects of learning…. Assessing only in one way or in one context does not tell us the whole story. We need to consider the many ways children learn and the many ways they can show what they know” (Hughes & Gullo, 2010, p. 58).
Research indicates that people learn in different ways (Pashler, McDaniel, Rohrer, & Bjork, 2008). Some prefer instructional manuals, others need auditory coaching, and still others require hands-on training. If this is true for children, then it’s only fair that their instructors and care providers assess them in different ways as well. Outdoor classrooms can provide new opportunities for learning and for assessing during planned and free choice playtime.
The Adventurous Child understands that when it comes to learning, you need a lot of choices for kids. Our Nature and Science Learning Center is a fantastic way to encourage different types of learning, and by proxy, will lend itself to different types of assessment. After familiarizing themselves with the center, here just a few of the things children will be able to do:
· Use the magnifying glass to observe small objects and describe them by journaling
· Draw pictures and scribble to generate and express ideas
· Use new vocabulary picked up from these experiences (“soil,” “insects”)
· Grow plants from seeds in the garden box
· Observe and then sketch the root system of a plant using the root garden