Early Childhood Screening
The purpose of Early Childhood Screening is to promote healthy development, to identify children who may need further evaluation and to connect families to resources in the community.
What is Early Childhood Screening?
Early Childhood Screening is a free and simple check of how your child is developing and growing and consists of the following components:
- Cognitive development
- Large and small muscle development
- Language and communication skills
- Social and emotional development
- Vision and hearing
- Height and weight
- Healthy history
- Immunization review
Screening in early childhood supports children’s readiness for kindergarten and promotes health and development. Screening may link families to early learning opportunities and resources such as Early Childhood Family Education, Early Childhood Special Education, School Readiness or home visiting programs. Screening is not a substitute for health care from your family physician or other providers.
Who is required to be screened?
Minnesota state law requires participation in screening before a child starts kindergarten, or must take place within 30 days of when a child starts kindergarten. Children who attend Head Start or Early Childhood Special Education may not need to participate; please call the screening office for more information. Screening is not required for your child's entry into kindergarten if you are a conscientious objector to screening. You will need to provide a written statement to your child's school district that documents your conscientious objector status.
When should I have my child screened?
Early Childhood Screening is available to children when they turn three years old. Although your child may be screened at any time before kindergarten, it is best to do so between three and four years of age so that any health or developmental concerns can be addressed sooner.
Do I need to make an appointment?
Yes. Screenings are done by appointment only. To make an appointment, either click on the “Register Today” button or call the screening office at 763-241-3525. Appointments take place at the Handke Center in Elk River (1170 Main St). Evening and weekend appointments are available.
Once your appointment has been scheduled, you will receive a confirmation email with paperwork to print and complete. Please bring completed paperwork, along with a copy of immunizations and birth certificate, to your appointment.
What happens during an Early Childhood Screening appointment?
You can expect your child to participate in a few different screening activities. The screening staff will check to make sure your child's physical development is on track. The screener will also check your child's vision and hearing and review immunization and general health history. Your child will have the chance to participate in activities that show how he or she is developing. These activities are designed to be fun and familiar for children including things like building with blocks, standing on one foot and drawing shapes. Some of the screening activities, such as repeating a sentence, help you understand how your child is doing in building skills needed to learn to read. Children usually enjoy showing what they know and if they are shy or distracted, screening staff will work hard to make the child feel comfortable. You can always reschedule for another day if your child is not feeling well. At the end of the screening, the staff will take the time to connect with you and share information about how your child is developing. If there are any areas where your child could use more support, the screening staff will help connect your family with resources in the community.
What if my child does not speak English?
Please request an interpreter at the time of registration.
The Handke Center
1170 Main St., Elk River