S. asks from Shakopee, MN on January 14, 2008
Prescreening in Kindergarten?
my son will be going to kindergarten next fall and i was wondering about "when they do the presceening for this (summer, early fall, ect..) and what he needs to know to get into kindergarten..what is the test questions ect....? i know all schools are probably different but iam sure they are simmular............
E.L. answers from Minneapolis on January 16, 2008
Here's the skinny, short and sweet, don't worry about it. My cousin use to do screenings as a Speech & Language student and there are looking for developmental delays--special education needs. Parents, even teachers, always hover saying, "Oh! She can do that," but it really doesn't matter. It's not a test and it's either yes, she's ready or no, she's not. Like I said, the "no" would be due to a special need.
J.C. answers from Minneapolis on January 15, 2008
Most districts start preschool screenings at 3.5 years but will do them anytime before kindergarten starts. Just call your school district and make an appointment. They test the child's eyes, check height and weight, and have them do some simple tasks - fine motor and large motor skills. They also check speech and look for developmental delays. They will ask one of the parents to fill out a form about the child's development. I am a kindergarten teacher and in our district, the teachers don't get these reports....they aren't used by teachers - they are mainly used to ensure that the child doesn't have any developmental delays and help identify kids who may need special assistance in school. Good luck to you and your son!
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P.K. answers from Minneapolis on January 15, 2008
I have a friend who works for the Anoka County School District in the Screening department, and I just set up my daughter for her screening appointment. Idealy, the screening is to be done between the age of 3 and 4. The reason is so that unusual behaviors or development delays can be caught early enough for action to be taken and possibly, corrected by the time the child starts school, and if not corrected, a plan in place for when the child attends, like special needs children, etc.
I've also been told that if there aren't any unusual bahaviors that would indicate a lag in your childs developemtn, the screening can be done a few months prior to the start kindergarden. They look at social skills, colors, letters, numbers, ability to be alone in a room with others, attention span, and...new this year...knowing their name and their body parts. This isn't really a "test", but more of an alert to the school district on upcoming students and special needs requirements, and for parents to assist a child in getting ready for a school career. Hope this helps. You can call your local county school district or ECFE to find out how to set it up. Usually you'll get something in the mail when your child is about 3 yrs old.
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C.A. answers from Minneapolis on January 14, 2008
I know that in my area the back log is so big that they will only do it the summer before kindergarten, unless there is a concern with any. My oldest went about 3 yo because his ped had concerns about his hearing.
They check hearing, sight, fine motor skills (placing blocks on top of each other), large motor skilss (jumping, balance, etc) and asks some questions about descriping objects and resoning.
Call for an appointment with plenty of time to spare. MN will pay for things like speach therapy and OT if it is required, but it has to be before they are in kindergarten. So early detection of any issues is best.
L.B. answers from Minneapolis on January 16, 2008
They ask them to stack blocks in different configurations. They ask the colors of different items. They watch them hop on both feet and then on one foot. they test hearing and sight. They ask a couple of logic questions too that I can't remember. I think the answer was supposed to be wood but she said wall. It didn't matter though, she got a 21 and only needed 14 to pass. I wouldn't stress about it too much! Have fun! I am sure he will do fine.
S.N. answers from Minneapolis on January 17, 2008
I would contact your district ASAP. Most recommend doing kindergarten screenings by age 3 or 4 now. They do a hearing and vision screening, as well as some simple activities. (i.e. the teacher may build with 4-5 blocks and then ask your son to copy what she just built, etc.) They are just looking for any developmental delays that may help in getting extra services started if needed. If the district is already done with its screenings for this year, I'm sure they would make arrangements to get your son tested. Good luck!
S.M. answers from Minneapolis on January 15, 2008
As a couple other mom's have shared, you want to contact the ECFE (Early Childhood Family Center) in your city right away and get an appointment set up (some are booked 6+ weeks out). Again, this is not a pass/fail test, as noted, it is merely a way to determine if a child could benefit from additional services provided by the state (i.e. speech therapy, etc.).
They test fine and large motor skills, eye and hearing test, memory, recognition, etc...
The screening is from 3-1/2 to 5 years old, but they really try to stress to parents getting in between 3-1/2 to 4 so that if your child were to benefit from some additional services, you could be using them now rather than waiting until kindergarten.
Definitely contact the school(s) of choice and find out about registration. Many have open houses scheduled in Jan/Feb, though you can also make a separate tour with the principal if you cannot make the open house.
The school can also refer you to an early screening center if you cannot find one.
Once you register to a school, some may have another screening just before school starts to determine what your child knows and what he may need help with at the start of school.
My daughter had the ECFE screening and then the late spring before Kindergarten the school did a short assessment to see if she needed to have help with basic learning (i.e. ABC, 123, colors, etc...). The school was offering a "no child left behind" program to get kids that perhaps had not had any formal preschool caught up with the other kindergarten students, so they were offered full-day kindergarten at no charge.
This can be a very exciting time, but I had my own trepidation about sending my first to kindergarten -- I didn't know the teachers, parents (many of the preschoolers we knew were going to other elementary schools in the city).
Try to get involved -- volunteer to help out once a month in the class. Attend the PTA meetings as you will get to know parents of older students so you can ask questions about upcoming teachers and learn about learning opportunities, etc.... Even if you work full-time, try to get you employer to let you take 90 minutes off work to be in the class (if done once a month, it would really be a minimal amount of time and you might be able to schedule it as part of your lunch). Your son will love it, you will get to know the other kids and it is at a time when your son wants you around.
Before you know it, he will be in middle school, not wanting to have much to do with you...
C.W. answers from Minneapolis on January 17, 2008
Hi! My daughter is in 1st grade and my son will start K this fall, too, so I may be able to answer your question.
Your community may not have this, but I can tell you what happens in Minneapolis.
We live in Minneapolis, which requires that children go through a screening process around age 3 (ideally 3 and a half). That screening form is required for registration. If you live in Mpls and have not done the screening, fear not. My neighbor wasn't aware of this and her son wasn't screened until he was 4 and a half. You can still have the screening done: 612-348-TOTS.
If this doesn't answer your question about screening for your community, perhaps call a local school or the school that you plan to send your son to. I'm sure they can let you know what you will need.
As for testing, he doesn't "need to get into kindergarten," he'll just go and they will teach him at whatever level he is at. If he needs to work on numbers, they will. If he needs to work on letter sounds, they will. Don't worry. The teachers are experts.:-)
As for what kids need to know, this is what I wished I had known when my daughter started:
Recognize ABC's and letter sounds
Recognize numbers and counting objects
Write their name
Know their address and phone number (and your name, too)
Know how to zip, button, tie any clothes they may wear (jackets, shirts, shoes, boots, etc.)
Not necessary, but doesn't hurt: how to open any containers you might send with a lunch (applesauce cups, ziplock bags, tupperware, etc.)
Good luck, S.. I hope this helps. It's a very exciting time.
K.R. answers from Minneapolis on January 15, 2008
In Minneapolis pre-school screening starts at age 3. In the summer before kindergarten it can be hard to get an appointment, so make one now!
It's not a test, and the results of the screening will not prevent him from entering kindergarten. The idea is that children who need extra help or special ed services can be identified early and get the help they need. It isn't a big deal, and you don't need to prepare for it. They will ask him very basic questions like shapes and body parts, among other things.