By: Laura Orwoll (Early Childhood Screening Office – ISD 728)
The early childhood years from birth to the start of kindergarten are an important time of rapid learning and growth. Early Childhood Screening is a quick and simple check of how children are doing between the ages of 3 and 4 years. It identifies, at an early stage, possible learning or health concerns so that children can get needed help before starting school.
Having worked in the screening program for the past 4 years, I have seen many children and families benefit from this program. Below are some common questions regarding Early Childhood Screening. Please call to make an appointment if your child is age-eligible or if you have further questions.
Who is required to be screened?
All children living in School District 728 who are at least 3 years old need to participate in this FREE screening. Screening is required by the State of Minnesota prior to Kindergarten entrance. A health and developmental screening from Head Start, Child and Teen Checkups or your health care provider may meet the school requirements. Please call the screening office for more information.
What is the ideal age for screening?
The ideal age for screening your child is between 3 and 4 years old. Waiting until the year before school entry may be waiting too long. Screening can detect possible learning or health concerns that can be addressed before they start Kindergarten.
Is the program required?
Yes. Minnesota state law requires that your child be screened prior to enrollment in a public school. Children are not permitted to enter a public school without Early Childhood Screening and up-to-date immunizations.
If you are planning to send your child to a private or home school, the law does not require screening, however, we still encourage you to participate. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to find out how your child is developing.
What happens during screening?
A trained professional will check your child’s:
• Thinking, Language and Communication skills
• Social & Emotional Development
• Vision & Hearing
• Height & Weight
• Large & Small Muscles
• Immunization shots status
The parent(s) attends the entire screening process with their child. The parent(s) will then participate in a family factors interview to review the screening process and talk about any concerns that they may have and to learn about area resources. Please allow 1 to 1-1/2 hours for the screening process.
How do I make an appointment for Early Childhood Screening?
Contact the Early Childhood Screening office at (763) 241-3525 to set up an appointment.
You can also stop by the ECFE office Monday-Friday at The Handke Center, 1170 Main Street, Elk River, MN using Door 6.