A daycare report card is a form that provides parents with an evaluation and update on their child’s developmental progress.
Daily report cards are different from daily reports—day-to-day records that keep track of each child’s behavior and improvements through their daily activities. Daily reports allow parents to monitor learning and conduct changes in real-time and they play a significant role in determining the overall progress of the child, which is later tracked in the report card.
What are the benefits of a daycare report card?
The benefits of daycare report cards include:
- Improving teacher instruction
- Identifying learning and behavior trends
- Encouraging collaboration between teachers and families
- Identifying at-risk children or children with developmental delays
- Increasing accountability and transparency in a child’s learning instruction
A child’s education is not a matter only left to teachers and administrators. Writing daycare report cards is the best way to keep all parties — teachers, families, and administrators — aware of the child’s progress and actively working towards their success.
What areas should I cover in my daycare report card?
When evaluating the children at your daycare or childcare center, it is fundamental to monitor skills that will help them develop into well-rounded individuals and successful students.
These skills include:
Social-emotional skills are foundational to relating to others and building healthy relationships. As an educator, you are assessing the children's capacity and progress towards self-awareness, self-regulation, and their ability to collaborate and resolve conflicts.
Language and literacy development is central to a child’s ability to effectively communicate. Assessment of language differences or delays can indicate developmental concerns. To fully evaluate a child, assess both their receptive and expressive language skills.
When assessing cognitive skills, you might test a child’s verbal comprehension, memory, perceptual reasoning, and processing speed. This allows you to identify cognitive strengths and weaknesses, specifically whether a child is intellectually gifted or experiencing any learning disabilities.
Although physical development assessments for children are often conducted by pediatricians, as a teacher, you are also responsible for monitoring their physical progression. Most daycare-aged children have mastered gross motor skills — crawling, standing, walking, reaching, pulling, lifting, and balancing. These skills are crucial in a child’s growing independence needed for tasks such as using the bathroom or getting dressed.
How to assess each area
Assessments are an integral part of the learning process for children. It allows educators to gather information on a child and use it to plan the curriculum — or educational activities — at a level which the child understands.
At this age, a child’s skill and performance isn’t graded with the classic academic grading scale of A+ to F that most are used to. Instead, they should be assessed with terms that will demonstrate the progress of the skills you’re evaluating them on. For example, you can evaluate them as P - present, E - emerging, or N - not yet emerging. Using an assessment system similar to this will allow you to notify parents of their child’s strengths and opportunities for growth in a neutral, productive way.
There are multiple assessment methods that you, as a teacher, can use with your children. These methods fall into two categories—informal and formal. Informal assessment methods include observations, portfolios, and educator ratings. They are non-intrusive to the children while allowing you to observe and collect information on the progress of their development.
Formal assessments are standardized which means it’s scored in a “standard” manner. Formal assessments can be used to assess children's development. The results of an assessment can support teachers and families to discuss the best ways to support a child’s development or make a plan for next steps such as following up with a developmental specialist.
Although different in form, both informal and formal assessment methods have the same purpose. They allow you to learn the developmental strengths and areas for growth of your children and build your curriculum to promote their learning.
How often should you give progress report cards?
While the exact frequency will vary depending on your center’s program, it is a good idea to schedule your daycare report cards around a series of lesson plans.
When you present parents with their child’s report card, you want to ensure that it shows a child’s clear progress from one point to another.
If you schedule your daycare report cards around your lesson plans, administrators and teachers can easily evaluate how a child progressed during that period of time.
Tips on writing daycare progress reports
Before you get started on your daycare progress reports, we’d like to share a few tips to keep in mind as you complete your evaluations.
When writing progress reports, be sure to include specific examples of how a child is progressing towards their developmental goals.
Refer to each child’s daily records for evidence of clear instances of any improvements or changes in learning. Consult other teachers who know the child to get additional feedback or insights about a child’s progress. Including specific examples will reduce any confusion and help parents understand your assessment.
Start working on the reports early.
Don’t wait until the last minute to start your daycare progress reports. Make sure you give yourself the time to accurately review each child’s development.
As previously mentioned, using specific examples is key to helping parents understand your evaluation. It may take time to sift through weeks or months' worth of daily records, so give yourself ample time.
Document any areas of concern.
If you notice that a child has areas of concern, these must be documented and shared with the parents.
Areas of concern might include self-regulation or attention to task; however, if the situation is serious or time sensitive, such as challenging behaviors that may harm other children, notify parents immediately and communicate the entirety of the information in a meeting.
Generally, parents should be made aware of any developmental concerns as they arise, so there are no surprises when you deliver your progress report.
Include personal touches.
Parents like to know that you’ve developed a genuine connection with their child. To properly demonstrate that, include something personal about each child in your progress report.
You might include a positive anecdote or discuss a talent or personality trait you’ve noticed. This demonstrates that you see their child as an individual versus one of many in the class.
Finish on a positive note.
Conclude your progress reports with a section for goals and any next steps. Create goals with input from families and consider any important developmental milestones.
This section can also be used as an opportunity to celebrate those achievements, big and small, that have occurred since the last progress report.
Daycare report card templates
As a daycare teacher, the format you use for your daycare report card is up to you; however, you might find it useful to use a template as a reference.
The following templates are great tools to guide you as you create your own:
The above template is easy to follow and provides a comprehensive look into a child’s progress through the identification of their cognitive, social-emotional, and language skills.
The above is another great template that allows you to break down a child’s behavior into social and emotional skills and work habits. The evaluation timeline used is an effective demonstration of how a child’s progress can be monitored throughout the year.
Better report cards are on the way
Follow the steps and tips in this article to create an effective daycare report card and evaluate your children like a seasoned professional.
As you take the time to get to know your children, assess their skills, and fill out their progress report cards, you’re creating the space for a positive learning experience for the child and cohesive collaboration between the teacher, families, and administrators.
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