Screening is a free and simple procedure used to identify potential health or developmental problems in infants and young children who may need a health assessment, diagnostic assessment or educational evaluation. Screening in early childhood supports children's readiness for kindergarten and promotes health and development. Screening may link families to free early learning opportunities and resources such as Head Start, Early Childhood Family Education, prekindergarten programs, Early Learning Scholarships or home visiting programs. Screening includes vision and hearing, height and weight, immunization review, large and small muscles, thinking, language and communication skills as well as social and emotional development.
Early Childhood Screening (ECS) by a school district or evidence of a comparable screening by a non-school provider (e.g., Head Start, Child and Teen Checkups/EPSDT or a health care provider) is required for entrance in Minnesota’s public schools between age 3 and kindergarten, or within the first 30 days of kindergarten. However, it is best to screen between the ages of 3 and 4, so that any health or developmental concerns may be addressed early.
The screening is also required within the first 90 days of attendance (if not done previously) for the following early learning programs: school readiness
, school readiness plus
, voluntary prekindergarten
and early learning scholarships
. Early childhood screening is offered throughout the year by local school districts. If a parent is a conscientious objector to the screening program for their child, the child does not need to participate in the state screening program. View Minnesota Statutes, sections 121A.16 -121A.19
and Minnesota Rules 3530.3000-3530.4310
for further information.
Standards and Quality Indicators
The Early Childhood Screening Program Standards
are identified in the Minnesota law. The Early Childhood Screening program incorporates the Minnesota Department of Health standards for screening of children.
Screening Guidelines for Interpreters
provide an overview of the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Early Childhood Screening program for interpreters hired by districts.
The Quality Indicators Framework
and the Quality Indicators Framework Checklist
are used to evaluate the quality of screening programs for children in Minnesota.
The Early Childhood Screening Parent Questionnaire
may be used to evaluate screening program effectiveness from the perspective of parents. Historical Reports
View a report of Kindergarteners Screened
through an interactive search for statewide and public school aggregate data.
View annual reports of children screened statewide and by public school, Early Childhood Screening (ELS)
> Enter for more information on Administration Forms for Early Childhood Screening
> Enter for more information on Professional Learning for Early Childhood Screening