Eastern Connecticut State University
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#6: Supporting Children's Individual Needs

With Dr. Ann Gruenberg and Niloufar Rezai

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Early childhood professionals face the continual challenge of planning for the entire classroom while meeting each child's individual needs. In e-clip #6, Dr. Ann Gruenberg stresses the importance of observing children and assessing their strengths and needs to determine how best to support them, and teacher Niloufar Rezai reflects on strategies she used to identify and support a child's learning needs, including working closely with the child's family and giving them ideas for activities to do at home. When teachers identify children's interests, work closely with their instructional team, and partner with families, they can effectively support the learning needs of all children in their classroom.

Discussion Questions for Early Childhood Teachers and Administrators

  1. What kinds of information do we initially gather from parents to help us meet children's individual needs?

  2. How often do we both informally observe and more formally assess children to determine their needs? What tools do we use? Do we need to do more?

  3. What do we do to ensure that our observations of children are accurate?

  4. What strategies do we use to meet children's individual needs while still managing the entire classroom?

  5. How do we engage parents in efforts to meet children's learning needs? What else might we try?

Recommended Reading

  • Carta, J. J.; Greenwood, C.; Walker, D.; & Buzhardt, J. (2010). Using IGDIs: Monitoring progress and improving intervention for infants and young children. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

  • Chen, J., & Dowley, G. (2007). Bridging: Assessment for teaching and learning in early childhood classrooms, PreK-3. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

  • Copple, C., & Bredekamp, S. (2009). Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs serving children from birth through age 8. Washington, D.C.: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

  • Epstein, A. S. (2007). The intentional teacher: Choosing the best strategies for young children's learning. Washington, D.C.: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

  • Gruenberg, A. M. & Miller, R. (2011). Practical guide to inclusion: Effective reflection. Columbus, OH: Merrill Publishing Co.

  • Harris, J. H.; Beneke, S.; & Steinheimer, K. (2007). Windows on learning: Documenting young children's work. New York: Teachers College Press.

  • Horn, E. M., Peterson, C., & Fox, L. (Eds.). (2007). Linking curriculum to child and family outcomes. Young Exceptional Children Monograph Series, 9.

  • Hyson, M. (2008). Enthusiastic and engaged learners: Approaches to learning in the early childhood classroom. New York: Teachers College Press.

  • Jablon, J. R.; Dombro, A. L.; & Dichtelmiller, M. L. (2007). The power of observation for birth through eight. Cengage Learning.

  • Raikes, H.H., & Edwards, C. P. (2009). Extending the dance in infant & toddler caregiving: Enhancing attachment & relationships. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing Co.

Additional Web Resources on Supporting Children's Individual Needs


Video production credits for Supporting Children's Individual Needs

Executive Producer: Julia DeLapp

Producer/Director: Denise Matthews

Production Coordinator: Ken Measimer

Student Production Assistants: Dan Young, Karl Gray, & Kerin Griffin


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