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  • Writer's pictureLaura Johnson

Screen-free, Test-free: a gentle approach

One of the hallmarks of the Forest Friends curriculum is that we use a gentle approach to early childhood learning. We engage the whole child in learning - mind, body, and spirit; and we do not use screens or traditional tests as tools.

Our time together will be filled with hands-on activities and real books, children will not be using screens, viewing things on screens, or watching videos. Teachers will use tech to stay in touch with parents, for emergencies, for documentation, and to snap a few pictures for sharing what the children have been working on.

And testing? We prefer to assess growth by regularly observing and documenting the child's activities and mastery over time, sharing that information with parents several times throughout the school year. Teachers utilize specialized forms to make quick daily observations that are customized to our curriculum.

Above: just a small clip of one of the tracking forms that teachers will use, discreetly, to observe growth over the school year.

And finally, our favorite way to share growth - the "I Can!" books that your child will create - have become a treasured keepsake in our home and I hope they will in yours as well. The children will self-select their favorite printed photos and saved work, and with a teacher's help, dictate or write "I can.." statements. They will then share these books with you during our conferences. The excitement they will have of being a participant in their own growth is a wonderful thing!

Above: an example of a page from a child-led "I Can" book.

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