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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 30 Chapter One in partnership to assure the child’s optimum growth and development. Ways to get to know each child well and incorporate that knowledge into the frameworks will be discussed in chapter 5, and ways to build relation- ships and communicate with families in chapter 7. Integration of Curriculum with Authentic, Observational Assessment The integration of curriculum planning with assessment of children’s learning is the key to good teaching. Therefore, implementing assessment processes that will help with planning is essential. Authentic, observation- al assessment is the recommended assessment practice in early childhood programs and is well grounded in research and theory. Teachers watch and listen as children participate in activities and experiences throughout the day. They document observations for the purpose of reflection and plan- ning as well as to assess each child’s capabilities and progress. They collect portfolio documentation to capture tangible evidence of children’s progress and growth to share with families and to help with curricular planning. Policy makers, the early childhood profession, and other stakehold- ers in young children’s lives have a shared responsibility to assess young children’s strengths, progress, and needs, use assessment methods that are developmentally appropriate, culturally and lin- guistically responsive, tied to children’s daily activities, supported by professional development, inclusive of families, and connected to specific, beneficial purposes: (1) making sound decisions about teaching and learning, (2) identifying significant concerns that may require focused intervention for individual children, and (3) helping programs improve their educational and developmental interventions. (NAEYC and NAECS/SDE 2003, 2) Assessment does not stand apart from curriculum. As demonstrated in the planning/observation/individualization cycle, teachers include learn- ing goals in all aspects of the day, identifying the ways they will incorpo- rate them into play experiences, daily routines, and large- and small-group activities. Teachers’ observations related to age-appropriate learning goals and their documentation of children’s performance related to those learn- ing goals are ongoing. Teachers’ reflections on these observations inform the teaching process and assist teachers in determining the most effective COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL