The Development of Citizen Competences Since Kindergarten: How do Assessment Practices of Childhood Educators and Children’s Families Contribute to Children’s Development?

By Rita Leal and Nilza Costa.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Given the complexity of today’s society, it’s necessary to change the learning process since kindergarten, placing the learner in a more active role. This complexity leads us to the need to develop competences that every citizen of the twenty-first century should have. Considering that the education of citizens begins from the moment they’re born, the first level of Education (preschool) assumes a vital role. Thus, based on the basic knowledge identified by Cachapuz, et al. (2004) and placing it in context within Preschool Education in Portugal, four competences that children should develop in Preschool Education were defined and validated in a preliminary phase of the research.
In accordance with what some authors defend (Gaustad, 1996; Katz, 1997) one of the ways to increase the development of competences is through learning assessment by childhood educators and family, and this is what we focus our research on. Using a case study methodology, within a kindergarten context, and in which sources and data collection techniques are used (interviews; natural observation of practices; documental analyses), we seek to find a more global vision of learning assessment based on the development of competences. Within education policies in Portugal for Preschool Education, assessment is considered an integral part of the teaching and learning process. Assessment should serve the curriculum and learning process, backing up all the educational intentions and decisions (ME, 1997). According to some authors (Gaustad, 1996; Zabalza, 2000) for the assessment of learning to be authentic it needs to result from different visions and from sharing and negotiating with all the elements that are a part of the process. Thus, family has a primary importance in Preschool Education assessment, because we cannot know each child’s interests and needs if we do not consider the family to be a privileged source of information.

Keywords: Citizen Competences, Development, Preschool Education, Assessment, Learning Process, Family

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp.219-230. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.322MB).

Dr. Rita Leal

Educational Researcher, PhD Student, Research Centre in Didactics and Technology in Teaching and Training of Trainers, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal

I have a degree in Childhood Education concluded in 2005. I worked as Childhood Educator for a year and then moved on to the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria assuming the position of Internship Supervisor in the same area and it is where I have been for the past two years. I am now taking my PhD in the area of learning assessment in Preschool Education at the University of Aveiro. At the University of Aveiro I also work in educational research together with my Phd Supervisor. I am also a trainer in the area of Preschool Education for the Portuguese Minitry of Education. I have been giving training sessions to other childhood educators in the didactics area. I have published some articles in some Portuguese Journals in the didactics area.

Prof. Nilza Costa

Full Professor, Research Centre in Didactics and Technology in Teaching and Training of Trainers, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal

Nilza Costa is Full Professor in University of Aveiro since 2004 and her main activities and responsabilities are: Teaching Undergraduates and Postgraduate Students In Education, Director of the Doctoral Program in Education at the University of Aveiro, Supervision of Master and Doctoral Students, Coordinator of the Laboratory of Quality Evaluation in Education at the University of Aveiro, Coordination of research projects and Coordinator of Erasmus Students Moblity.


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