Early childhood development and the 10 indicators of risk

Now that you’ve watched Gloria Maccow’s video answering the five basic questions about early childhood development, you might be wondering how you can identify the children in your care who may need extra support. HeadStart has provided an Early Learning Outcomes Framework (HSELOF) which presents five broad areas of early learning — central domains — which reflect research-based expectations for learning and development. The framework emphasizes the key skills, behaviors, and knowledge that programs must foster in children ages birth to 5 to help them be successful in school and life:

  • Cognition
  • Language and literacy
  • Approaches to learning
  • Social and emotional development
  • Perception, motor, and physical development

There are some well-known indicators for identifying children who may be at risk or need extra support.

The 10 indicators of risk:

  1. Difficulties following directions or routines
  2. Clumsy (gross and/or fine motor skills)
  3. Difficulties interacting with peers
  4. Talked late compared to peers
  5. Slow vocabulary growth
  6. Extremely restless and easily distracted
  7. Poor articulation
  8. Difficulty naming known objects quickly
  9. Poor phonological awareness skills
  10. Poor letter-naming skills/math skills

While some of these are typical of any young child, none should be discounted, and further screening is recommended. Using a tool that aligns with the HeadStart Framework is important to ensure you are measuring a child’s progress against a well-known and respected standard.

Early Screening Inventory, Third Edition (ESI-3) aligns with HeadStart, and can quickly identify where they may need additional support in or outside of the classroom, with reporting that can be shared with parents.

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