Assessment of Learning

At the year's beginning, parents are asked to complete a family assessment, as well as attend an in-take conference as a way to make in-roads in understanding each child as an individual. Families new to WCNS will have a home visit with each child’s classroom teacher.

In addition to written evaluations, co-teaching teams provide parents with collection of children's work that represents a child's growth through the school year. Following the Illinois Early Learning Standards as guidelines and the developmental guidelines of the Work Sampling System®, this portfolio includes work samples that serve as assessments of cognitive, physical and social and emotional developmental areas, as well as a means for improved communication between family and school.

The Work Sampling System®

The Work Sampling System is an instructional assessment that is used in preschool through sixth grade. Its purpose is to document and assess children's skills, knowledge, behavior, and accomplishments across a wide variety of curriculum areas on multiple occasions in order to enhance teaching and learning.

The Work Sampling System consists of three complementary elements:

  • Developmental Guidelines and Checklist,
  • Portfolios, and
  • Summary Reports

Work Sampling calls for ongoing assessment that is summarized three times per year. By reflecting classroom goals and objectives, it helps teachers monitor children's continuous progress and places children's work within a broad developmental perspective. Through documenting and evaluating individual performance of classroom-based tasks, Work Sampling strengthens student motivation, assists teachers in instructional decision-making, and servces as an effective means for reporting children's progress to families, educators, and the community.

Curriculum Goals

The following are the curriculum goals for three and four year old children attending Winnetka Community Nursery School

Personal and Social Domains

Self Concept

  • Demonstrates self-confidence
  • Shows some self direction

Self Control

  • Follows simple classroom rules and routines with guidance
  • Begins to use classroom materials carefully
  • Manages transitions

Approaches to learning

  • Shows eagerness and curiosity as a learner
  • Attends briefly, and seeks help when encountering a problem
  • Approaches play with purpose and inventiveness

Interaction with others

  • Interacts with one or more children
  • Interacts with familiar adults
  • Participates in the group life of the class
  • Shows empathy and caring of others

Social problem-solving

  • Seeks adult help when needed to resolve conflicts

Language and Literacy


  • Gains meaning by listening
  • Follows two-step directions
  • Shows beginning phonological awareness


  • Speaks clearly enough to be understood by most listeners (4 yr olds: and without contextual clues)
  • Uses expanded vocabulary and language for a variety of purposes


  • Shows appreciation for books (4 yr. olds: and reading)
  • Shows interest in letters and words (4 yr. olds: shows beginning understanding of concepts about print)
  • Comprehends and responds to stories read aloud (4 yr. olds: begins to develop knowledge about letters)


  • Represents ideas and stories through pictures, dictation, and play
  • Uses scribbles and unconventional shapes to write (4 yr. olds: uses letter- like shapes, symbols, and letters to convey meaning)
  •  (4 yr. olds: understands purposes for writing)

Mathematical Thinking

Mathematical processes

  • Shows interest in solving mathematical problems (4 yr. olds: begins to use simple strategies to solve mathematical problems)

Number and operations

  • Shows curiosity and interest in counting and numbers (4 yr. olds: shows beginning understanding of number and quantity)

Patterns, relationships, and functions

  • Sorts objects into subgroups that vary by one attribute (4 yr. olds: recognizes simple patterns and duplicates them)

Geometry and spatial relations

  • Identifies several shapes
  • Shows understanding of several positional words


  • Shows understanding of some comparative words
  • Participates in measuring activities (4 yr. olds: orders, compares, and describes objects according to a single attribute)

Scientific Thinking


  • Uses senses to observe and explore classroom materials and natural phenomena
  • Begins to use simple tools and equipment for investigation
  • Makes comparisons among objects

Social Studies

People, past and present

  • Begins to recognize own physical characteristics and those of others (4 yr. olds: begins to recognize own physical characteristics and those of others)

Human Interdependence

  • Begins to understand family structures and roles (4 yr. olds: begins to understand family needs, roles, and relationships)
  • Describes some jobs that people do ( 4 yr. olds: and what is required to perform them) (4 yr. olds: begins to be aware of technology and how it affects life)

Citizenship and government

  • Shows awareness of group rules (4 yr. olds: shows awareness of what it means to be a leader)

People and where they live

  • Shows beginning awareness of their environment (4 yr. olds: describes the location of things in the environment)

The Arts

Expression and representation

  • Participates in group music experiences
  • Participates in creative movement, dance, and drama
  • Uses a variety of art materials for tactile experience and exploration

Understanding and appreciation

  • Responds to artistic creations or events

Physical Development and Domain

Gross motor development

  • Moves with some balance and control
  • Coordinates movements to perform simple tasks

Fine motor development

  • Uses strength and control to perform simple tasks
  • Uses eye-hand coordination to perform simple tasks
  • Explores the use of various drawing and art tools (4 yr. olds: shows beginning control of writing, drawing, and art tools)

Personal health and safety

  • Begins to perform self-care tasks independently
  • Follows basic health and safety rules with reminders