School tracking systems – or tracking progress against curricula – in early child care settings play an important role in supporting the healthy development of children during the first five years of life.
Child care providers can use school tracking systems to better understand child behavior, detect factors that impact learning, identify each child’s strengths and opportunities for improvement, and keep kids on track to succeed in kindergarten.
School tracking systems also produce a record of child development and milestone achievement that can hold sentimental value for parents, preserving the most exciting memories from their child’s early years.
What are School Tracking Systems?
School tracking systems are software tools that help early childhood educators plan lessons and activities, record behavioral observations, and track early educational and developmental milestones. They are also used to record progress against curricula.
With school tracking systems, child care center staff can create and share age-appropriate lesson plans that align with state standard developmental milestones. By leveraging software to track a child’s progress, child care centers and schools can map a child’s development and measure their progress against state learning standards or a customized set of criteria. Through this kind of software, educators can also record daily observations, support those observations with images and video, and include them in a child’s developmental portfolio.
The best school tracking systems for early child care also support parent engagement and two-way communication with families. Child care center staff can share daily observations with parents in real-time, and parents can review their child’s milestone achievements by accessing their developmental progress through an online portal.
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What are the Benefits of School Tracking Systems?
School tracking systems are used to record behavioral observations as children achieve educational and developmental milestones across the four domains.
Tracking in a standardized way is essential to evaluate how well children are doing in comparison to where they should be. Sharing that progress in a systematic fashion with parents is even more important in the early years to identify areas where a child may need intervention or extra support at home. When implemented effectively, school tracking systems offer five major benefits for kids, parents and child care providers:
Keep Kids on Track for Academic Success
Kids can fall behind in school at all ages and for a variety of reasons, but researchers have discovered that gaps in cognitive development begin to emerge as early as 18 months old.
A child who is prepared for kindergarten should be able to sit still, follow simple rules or basic directions, and use the bathroom on their own. They should be able to manage their emotions in an age-appropriate way and demonstrate an interest in learning – and they should be starting to recognize letters and numbers and improving motor functions.
School tracking systems help keep children on track for academic success by highlighting any gaps in milestone attainment that could affect their preparedness for kindergarten. Child care providers can assess milestone attainment against state development standards to ensure kids are prepared to succeed academically as they enter the public school system.
Understand Your Child’s Behaviors
The first five years of life represent a period of rapid and profound change.
These changes can be confusing for parents, especially when a child’s behavioral responses seem to shift overnight. Early childhood development standards tell us that children of different ages will have different ways of communicating their needs, coping with strong emotions and relating to others.
By recording observations of how kids behave and linking those observations to developmentally significant changes, parents can have an early warning system if something seems “off.” The result is that both parents and child care providers can better understand whether an observed behavior is developmentally appropriate or a cause for concern.
Detect Factors that Impact Learning
Parents and early childhood educators can also leverage information that is tracked to detect factors that impact the ability of young children to learn and develop in a healthy way.
Studies have found that between five to 10 percent of kids have learning disabilities that impact their academic performance. The ability to detect factors that affect learning from an early age and introduce interventions to minimize their effect on academic success is one of the critical benefits of school tracking systems in early child care settings.
Identify Strengths and Opportunities
Identifying children who are making rapid progress, along with those who seem to be falling behind in one or more developmental milestones is also a key benefit in using school tracking systems.
When a child is falling behind, parents can seek out remedial opportunities that aid the child to make faster progress in the targeted domain. When a child is showing fast progress, parents can seek out enrichment opportunities that encourage the child to maximize their potential.
Preserve Memories of Childhood
Every day, particularly when children are quite young, a new milestone may be achieved. Through school tracking systems, child care providers create digital records of observed behaviors, connect them with developmental milestones, support them with images and video, add them to a virtual portfolio and share that portfolio with parents. This provides families with a day-by-day immersive glimpse into a child’s day.
In the moment, this process enables real-time updates for parents on the development of their child. In the long term, the digital child development portfolio acts as a repository for treasured childhood memories. Parents can review their child’s portfolio, look back at the milestones, images and video that were recorded with during early child care, and remember the joy and excitement of watching their child grow up.
As kids get older, they can review their own developmental milestones as a reminder of how far they’ve come and how far they still can go.
Track Early Childhood Milestones at Your Child Care Center with Procare
Measuring early childhood milestones with school tracking systems provides significant benefits to kids and parents.
With a tracking system in place, child care providers and parents can team up to prepare kids for academic success, understand child behavior, enable early intervention for observed learning difficulties, provide enrichment programs where appropriate, and create an enduring record of early development for each child.
After more than 30 years in the child care industry, Procare is the most trusted provider of school tracking systems for early child care settings.
With Procare Solutions, child care providers can design lessons and weekly education plans for targeted learning, record behavioral observations and document milestone attainment against all 50 state learning standards – plus a few extras like Montessori and NAEYC.
Best of all, centers can build student development portfolios and share them with parents, along with daily observations. Frequent information sharing and updates drive parent engagement and keep families in the loop on how their kids are developing at your center.
Are you ready to start measuring educational development at your early learning center with Procare Solutions?