Early Childhood Screening

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.

Training Resources
Staff who provide developmental screening or coordinate the screening program are required by Minnesota Rules 3530.3300 to complete a live training offered by Minnesota Departments of Education and Health (MDE/MDH. Trainings are offered each spring in the metro area and each fall in Northern and Southern Minnesota. Attend as often as needed.
  • March 27, 2019 - Early Childhood Screening, Minnesota Department of Education, Roseville, Minnesota  (Register for Early Childhood Screening Training) Staff who provide vision and hearing screening are required by Minnesota Rules 3530.330 to complete a live training offered by Minnesota Department of Health. Trainings are offered several times throughout the year across the state. Training is recommended at least every five years. 
  • Trainings posted six weeks in advance - Minnesota Department of Health Vision and Hearing Training
Early Childhood Screening Outreach Strategies is a short training module for districts to expand screening for all Minnesota’s children. 
Early Childhood Screening Program Administration is a training module for districts to assure their program aligns with Minnesota law.
Early Childhood Screening Developmental and Social-Emotional Screening and Referral is a toolkit to provide staff training.
Developmental and Social Emotional Screening and Referral: Part 1 of 3
Developmental and Social Emotional Screening and Referral: Part 2 of 3
Developmental and Social Emotional Screening and Referral: Part 3 of 3
Early Childhood Screening Frequently Asked Questions

Administration Forms
The information and forms contained on this page are reflective of the interagency partnership between the Minnesota Departments of Education, Health, and Human Services. The Minnesota Developmental Screening Taskforce is a partnership that determines criteria for review of developmental and social-emotional screening instruments for recommendation/approval for use in Minnesota's public screening programs. The task force has representation from the Minnesota Departments of Human Services, Education, and Health, as well as higher education, to allow for statewide coordination of screening efforts. Forms are applicable for the Head Start program, the Child Teen Checkups program, and clinics. Translated resources are available below.

The Early Childhood Screening Parent Brochure describes the Early Childhood Screening program.

The Early Childhood Screening Consent form provides written parent consent for child's participation in the program.

The Early Childhood Screening Release of Information form provides parent consent to release information for referral from Early Childhood Screening.  

The Early Childhood Screening Registration form is required for districts to assign Minnesota Automated Reporting Student System (MARSS) identification numbers for all screening provided July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019. The MARSS system helps compute and report Minnesota school districts’ Early Childhood Screening aid entitlements. A MARSS Identification Number assigned at the time of a child's participation in an Early Childhood Screening Program or following a comparable screening in early childhood, is a statutory requirement. A link to the MARSS procedure for the assignment of the education identification number is provided at right.

Summary Child Health and Developmental Screening form reflects the required components of Early Childhood Screening. A copy of the completed form must be given to parents. 

The Child Health and Developmental History form may be used for Early Childhood Screening to gather information about health concerns that may impact learning. 

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.
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).   

Translated Documents