I took a landscaping class recently. During that class the professor discussed the invaluable need to understand the nature of plants and the necessity of enriching our habitat whenever possible. It was an enlightening experience because as it turns out, teaching and landscaping have a lot in common.
Like plants, each child in our charge comes with a unique history, a unique set of abilities, and a unique personality. Sometimes this combination makes it easy for a teacher to determine and develop a great long-term lesson plan. Other times, this combination challenges and frustrates teachers, administrators, and parents alike.
It is the "go the extra miles" challenge, the challenge to reach the needs of the student within the group and to make a difference. That was the very reason so many of us chose teaching as a profession. You may head to http://www.lemanmanhattan.org/, if you need to know more about early childhood development.
Like plants, some children adapt well to group living. They're the ones who leap into the classroom situation leaving mom at the door crying because they didn't have time to say good-bye. Other children can work in a group situation or work alone – doesn't matter to them. They are so absorbed in the learning environment that they'll do well in almost any situation.
As educators, we assess each child within 30 days of arriving in our classrooms. We use the results from this assessment like a snapshot of where the child is functioning on a developmental scale today. That's important.