Portfolios are kept across the board in school systems everywhere. They are great sources of data that show progress throughout the school year. Portfolios can also have a valuable place in the preschool special needs classroom.
Teachers can use them to share with parents during conferences and IEP meetings. They can also be a great tool for sharing with physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, nurses, and other professionals who work with preschool special needs students.
What To Keep
Preschool special needs portfolios should hold a variety of documentation for the child. IEP goals and objectives that are being worked on would certainly be included as well as up to date documentation of the student’s progress in each area of delay.
If you have some sort of anecdotal charting system in place in the classroom, you might wish to keep the student’s anecdotal notes in his or her portfolio.
Keep work samples that relate to goals the child is working on in the portfolio. For example, if a student has “writing first name” as a fine motor goal, keep some samples of written activities that have the child’s name written in his own handwriting in the portfolio.
Crafts and other fine motor projects are great items to include. Notes from parents as well as any phone conversation records are important items to keep track of, so why not include a section in the portfolio for such things.
Also, keep progress reports from each grading period in the student’s portfolio, as well as any assessments you have completed. A section for conferencing notes with other professionals is a great way to keep track of the many conversations teachers have with therapists who work with special needs students.
A three ring binder, divided into labeled sections is an easy way to accommodate all the information you will be gathering in the portfolio. Here are some ideas for section headings:
1. Personal Information: Name, birthdate, address, phone number, and parental information.
2. IEP Goals and Objectives: List goals for each area of delay, and include progress charts, anecdotal records and notes here.
3. Student Assessments: Place dated assessment results here, to show progress at a glance.
4. Work Samples: Keep a plastic pocket here for dated samples of student work that reflect IEP goals.
5. Parent Communication: Phone records and conference notes should be kept in this section. Keep copies of notes from parents here.
6. Professional Conference Notes: Consultations with therapists, nurses, and other teachers should be held here.