Understanding Your Child’s Progress Report

Report cards already? Not exactly. But you will be given a progress report that outlines your child’s development (typically over the past 3-6 months) from your childcare provider. 

Progress Reports are important to both educators and parents for many reasons. According to HiMama’s Parent Satisfaction Survey, 98% of parents consider communication and parent engagement to be important or very important when selecting a child care center. Progress reports are a clear communicator of how a child is developing and is an excellent way for child care providers to connect with parents. 

Child care centers are legally required to present families with a formal philosophy of learning and education, along with a list of objectives. Progress reports help childcare centers track a child’s development and stay connected to their list of objectives. 

What is the common objective across most child care centers?

Children should be in a safe and nurturing environment that encourages their growth and development. Through the guidance and opportunity offered by teachers, children will reach certain skills in certain domains. For example, before heading to primary school, children should have established the skill of identifying and writing their own name. This particular objective is in the domain of language and literacy progress; an indicator of meeting this skill may be a child consistently writing their name correctly at the top of worksheets. 

Educators typically assess a child in the following areas: social progress, emotional progress, cognitive progress, gross and fine motor progress and language and literacy progress. 

  • Social progress – important domain and can help foster conflict-resolution skills, along with communication skills. 
  • Emotional progress – helps with establishing healthy relationships with peers and adults. Emotional progress can also contribute to self-confidence and positive self-esteem.
  • Cognitive process – involves skills such as attention and critical thinking. 
  • Gross and fine motor process – includes hand-eye coordination and independence with certain self-help skills like buttoning and using a zipper. 
  • Language and literacy progress – covers verbal and non-verbal communication and a growing interest in books.

As mentioned earlier, you should recognize that progress reports will not parallel a traditional report card of an older child. There is no A-F scale because no child is failing! Typically, letters are used to indicate growth in each area: if a skill is present (P), emerging (E), or not yet developed (N). Keep in mind that evidence of your child’s skills may vary from day to day. 

So you have the progress report; what now? HiMama’s Parent Satisfaction Survey indicated that 85% of parents believe that communication from their center helps them understand how to support their child’s development progress at home. 

Teachers and parents/guardians are given the opportunity to work as a team to help your child grow and learn. Be honest if you need clarification about a skill or observation documented in the report. For example, you may notice that your child has an E (emerging) in a specific skill that he is consistently mastering at home. Discussing why your child may be behaving differently at child care is a good start. Because progress reports have specific areas of observation, you can more easily ask individual questions about how you can encourage your child’s learning at home. You can always generally ask “What can we do at home to encourage our child to develop this skill?” on the progress report. 

Be assured, teachers are looking forward to partnering with you to guarantee a successful experience in which your child reaches milestones and continues to make progress in all areas of development! 

Want even more insights into what matters most to parents? See what our survey of 500 parents found in our Childcare Parent Satisfaction Report!

Linda Valloor

Linda spends her days teaching high schoolers the power of World Literature. She has been a high school teacher for 18 years and has her M.Ed. in Secondary English with a focus on urban and multicultural education. She moved from Illinois to Pennsylvania 15 years ago when she married her wonderful husband, John. She is a mama to 12-year-old twin girls and a younger daughter who is 8. In her spare time, Linda loves to write poetry, cook (and eat) international cuisine, play games too competitively with her family, and snuggle her dog, Rockwell.

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