Health/Developmental Screening

What is Early Childhood Screening? 

In order to clear up the many misunderstandings about Early Childhood Screening, we've identified the most commonly asked questions and have provided answers to give you a better understanding of the who, what, and why's of the process.

What does screening include?

Screening is a FREE check of your young child's height, weight, vision, hearing, and development - (language, motor, and concept skills).  It is also a time when parents share information about their child and family that might affect their child's growth, development, and learning.  Staff members provide referrals and resources as needed.  The whole process takes 45-60 minutes.

Please note:  Early childhood developmental screening helps a school district identify children who may benefit from district and community resources available to help in their development. Early childhood development screening includes a vision screening that helps detect potential eye problems but is not a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam.

• Where is screening done?

DGF Elementary Early Childhood Classrooms.

• Who does the screening?

DGF Early Childhood teachers and staff.

• Is this a kindergarten entrance exam?  If my child passes, is he/she ready for kindergarten?

No!  Early Childhood Screening is not a kindergarten entrance screening.  In Minnesota, it's the law that every child goes through screening before they enter kindergarten.  This is misleading because it is extremely important for children to be screened at least one year before they start kindergarten.  Then if a concern is identified there is time to provide appropriate services before he/she starts school.  A child may score well or pass the screening, but socially or emotionally may not be ready to successfully begin school.  Screening results alone do not determine whether or not your child goes to kindergarten.

• What happens if my child does not pass screening?

If your child's scores indicate there may be a developmental concern, the screener will refer your child to early childhood specialists for more in-depth assessment.  They will call you and arrange an appointment.  Your child may or may not qualify for services, depending on the assessment results.  If your child does not pass vision or hearing, you will need to have your child rechecked by your doctor, school nurse, or Public Health to confirm whether or not a problem exists and, if so, to take steps to correct it.

• Should I wait to have my child screened until right before he/she starts kindergarten (when he/she's at least five years old) so he/she'll do better on the screening?

No!  Screening scores are based on the child's age at the time of the screening.  Screening should be done when your child is 3 or 4 years old.  Screening is not an I.Q. test identifying high, medium, or low performance.  It identifies children who have health or developmental concerns as early as possible so they can be helped through services and be off to a good start when they enter school.

• What happens to the screening results?

You are given a copy of a summary of your child's results.  The actual screening tool is also passed on to your child's elementary school.