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The Geselle Test

Education Expert Advice from Barbara Callaghan

Q: My 4.9 year-old son was recently given the Geselle developmental screening test as a kindergarten admittance test. He scored as a 3 year-old in some of the fine motor activities. He doesn't show interest in coloring or writing. He can't write his name yet. The school wants him to go to their pre-k program vs. the Montessori school he is currently going to. I like much of the Montessori philosophy, but I am worried about him not learning what he needs. Any thoughts about the Geselle results or where to send him??

A: I have been trained to administer and interpret the results of the Geselle. It is designed to determine the developmental level of children. Basically, it is an indicator of how a child is currently performing. The students are screened on an individual basis and are asked to perform a variety of tasks. The results help adults see areas where the child needs more experience (please note that this is not pass/fail but rather a scaled test).

Most schools that use the Geselle combine it with some other tasks or observation activities so that they do not rely strictly on one assessment. The dilemma is whether you agree with the Montessori approach and how long you plan on having your child attend their school. In the very early years there are different expectations and you need to determine what it is you want for your child. Once that decision is made, the school choice is much easier.

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After teaching in California for nearly ten years, Barbara Callaghan moved to New Hampshire in 1985 and became a principal. After 10 years as a principal, she returned to teaching, her first love and true vocation.

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