Maine DOE developing preschool health screening resources

Maine DOE is planning to provide guidance and support by late spring to assist school nurses in conducting health, hearing and vision screening of four-year-olds entering public preschool programs in the 2015-16 school year.

Chapter 124: Public Preschool Program Standards, requires screening within the first 30 days of school entry, not within 30 days of preschool registration. Maine DOE understands that health screening for preschoolers is new and different than for kindergarteners and will provide information on appropriate screening tools as well as handouts for parents on oral health and lead screening.

Additionally, the Department will be available to school nurses as a resource to answer questions as part of a commitment to ensuring the first year of the new screening process is a success for students and school staff.

Children that have been screened at preschool entry do not need to be rescreened for kindergarten unless there is a health, vision or hearing concern that arises in preschool.

Maine DOE encourages school nurses to coordinate these screenings with their Head Start, if their districts have an existing partnership. Health, vision and hearing, as well as oral health and lead screening, are federal requirements of all Head Start programs.

Guidance from Maine DOE will be included in Chapter 45: Health Screening. For more information or technical assistance, please contact Maine DOE School Nurse Consultant Nancy Dube at nancy.dube@maine.gov or Maine DOE Early Childhood Consultant Sue Reed at susan.d.reed@maine.gov.