Did you know that children develop across five distinct domains?
Parents and caregivers alike understand that children develop at their own individual pace. But what do you do if you suspect that your child may be behind in one or more of those domains? And what can childcare providers do to help parents understand where their child falls on the developmental spectrum?
The solution is simple: childcare providers should be tracking child development across teaching domains, and parents should have easy access to that information. For parents and providers alike, it can be difficult to figure out where to begin.
If you are curious about what it means to track developmental milestones using child care reports, read on to learn more.
Tracking Your Child's Development
Childcare providers and early childhood educators have many jobs to do. Foremost, they must keep your child safe. We also expect that our children will grow and develop when in a provider's care.
As a result, tracking child development should be an intrinsic part of the role of the childcare provider. How can providers support growth if they do not understand where your child is on the developmental spectrum? To help young children progress, educators must meet children where they are.
They cannot do this without starting with a baseline. This is especially true if they have concerns about delays. This often begins with a developmental screening.
What Is Developmental Screening?
A developmental screening is a way for everyone who cares for a child to understand what the child can do, as well as what they cannot do yet. It can help us to recognize any delays in development. If delays are significant, it can be important to gain support from a specialist.
During a screening, a professional may interact with a child by asking them questions and assigning simple tasks. These may include physical tasks such as skipping or even creating a small tower with building blocks. This will provide the professional with the information they need to understand a child's developmental capabilities.
Why Are Developmental Screenings so Important?
You cannot move forward with getting special services for your child if you do not have documentation showing what your child can and cannot do at a given stage. Identification of deficits is the first step toward supporting a child on his or her developmental journey.
In many cases, the screening will lead to further evaluation by professionals. Children cannot move ahead in the process of getting help if everyone involved in their care does not understand their needs.
The earlier a professional identifies a delay, the better. Many services exist to support children across the developmental domains. Children who work with specialists early go on to find success in school and beyond.
Who Can I Contact to Get My Child a Developmental Screening?
Many professionals can carry out developmental screenings. These include your child's physician, childcare provider, or early childhood educator.
You may be able to get a free developmental screening from the state where you live. Children age three and under may be entitled to screening through your state's early intervention providers. Children three and older can receive special education support from the local public school district.
From there, local agencies will help to support you through the process of working with specialists to help your child.
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Developmental milestones are a series of tasks that children should be able to do by the time they reach a particular developmental age. There is a range of time during which children should have mastered these tasks or skills. These milestones are almost always met in order.
The milestones often addressed during a developmental screening are:
- Hops and stands on one foot up to five seconds
- Goes upstairs and downstairs without support
- Kicks ball forward
- Throws ball overhand
- Catches bounced ball most of the time
- Moves forward and backward with agility
Hand and Finger Skill Milestones
- Copies square shapes
- Draws a person with two to four body parts
- Uses scissors
- Draws circles and squares
- Begins to copy some capital letters
- Understands the concepts of “same” and “different”
- Has mastered some basic rules of grammar
- Speaks in sentences of five to six words
- Speaks clearly enough for strangers to understand
- Tells stories
- Correctly names some colors
- Understands the concept of counting and may know a few numbers
- Approaches problems from a single point of view
- Begins to have a clearer sense of time
- Follows three-part commands
- Recalls parts of a story
- Understands the concept of same/different
- Engages in fantasy play
Social and Emotional Milestones
- Interested in new experiences
- Cooperates with other children
- Plays “Mom” or “Dad”
- Increasingly inventive in fantasy play
- Dresses and undresses
- Negotiates solutions to conflicts
- More independent
- Imagines that many unfamiliar images may be “monsters”
- Views self as a whole person involving body, mind, and feelings
- Often cannot distinguish between fantasy and reality
Development and Progress Reports
To catch developmental delays early and help your child progress, child development reports should be a normal part of every quality early childhood program.
As part of regular child progress reports, your childcare provider may write a journal with an informative narrative of your child's day. This report should be accessible to parents.
Informal parent meetings about your child's milestones should be a regular part of the early education experience. If providers record daily activities, they should be able to guide you through a meaningful conversation about your child's development at any given moment.
Providers should provide parents with regular development reports. It can be helpful to provide a unique development report. This allows parents to see a teacher's notes about a child's progress across the learning domains.
These unique reports should be aligned to the center's developmental standards. The professional will be able to speak to your child's progress using these reports to guide the conversation.
Tracking Child Development Helps Everyone
Tracking child development is an important task that childcare providers must take seriously. Early conversations about developmental concerns can help keep children on track. When children get the help they need, children, parents, and providers all benefit.
Early Learning Ventures would love to help make this process easier for everyone. If you are interested in learning more about using developmental reports as part of your childcare management system, reach out to schedule a demo. You'll be on your way to clear communication in no time!
Are you looking for more child care management information? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Child Care Management.
Our child care management system makes running your child care program simple and efficient. Get back to what's most important. You shouldn't have to spend more time on the administrative tasks than you do with children and staff.
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