The Early Learning Observation & Rating Scale (ELORS) is a valuable tool to help recognize and respond to the needs of individual children. This tool will provide specific, developmentally appropriate information to assist you in making choices regarding the need for additional supports.
The Role of the Teacher
Teachers have the unique advantage of ongoing, in-depth knowledge of the children in their classrooms. Preschool and pre-kindergarten teachers interact with and observe children throughout the day in a variety of activities and routines, which provides them with rich samples of children’s behavior. Teachers observe children engaging in large and small group activities, participating in activities designed to target early math and literacy skills, interacting with books, interacting with their peers and with adults, investigating the world around them in the classroom and outdoors, following routines for hand-washing and during meals and snacks, and in countless other activities throughout the day.
By paying attention during these routines and activities, teachers can reflect on what they observe to gain an understanding of children’s skills and abilities. For example, a teacher may notice that a particular child builds elaborate block structures but rarely interacts verbally with his peers as he does so. By documenting what they see, teachers can begin to create a profile of individual children’s strengths and needs. They can then share this information with parents and other professionals. Teachers and parents may have different perspectives of children’s skills based on what they have observed in the home and school settings. The ELORS includes items that represent behaviors and skills that teachers and parents can observe in the classroom, in the home, on the playground, and in other natural settings. Sharing information is a vital step in determining whether a child shows early signs of learning disabilities or, for any number of other reasons, is in need of additional attention or support.
Teachers are encouraged to look closely at the children in their classrooms; to objectively consider children’s behavior and skills; and to make judgments as to whether they have concerns about children’s learning, skills, and behavior. Teachers should draw on their knowledge of child development, their knowledge of individual children’s backgrounds, cultures, and interests as they make these judgments. Teachers should also take into consideration factors such as the age of the child and timing within the school year when rating their level of concern for children. Children’s performance across a wide range of skills will vary depending upon their age, the amount and quality of time they have spent in the classroom, and the number and types of opportunities provided to foster the development of particular skills. For example, a teacher might not have concerns about a younger 4-year-old’s ability to determine which shape comes next in a repeating pattern; however, she might have significant concerns about an older child who is still unable to demonstrate this skill. A teacher may not have concerns about children’s ability to identify beginning sounds of words at the beginning of the school year, but she may have concerns about children who have not picked up this skill by spring.
See the Teacher's Guide to the ELORS
The Role of the Parent
Parents and primary caregivers play essential roles in the development, progress and support of a child’s development. Working together with educators, parents and primary caregivers provide valuable information critical to the successful progress monitoring of each child. Strong communication between educators and families is key to effectively supporting children.