KOLR10 News This Morning is helping parents and kids start the school year on the right foot all this week with our Back-To-School Backpack.
Those who are sending their little ones off to school for the first time will have kindergarten screening at the top of their to-do lists.
KOLR10 followed one very bright girl through the process, and while she says she enjoyed her screening, her mom says knowing where her daughter stands among her peers is not only helpful, it will also help her get the best education possible.
Lauren Waterman is here at doling school for her kindergarten screening, and she's showing the screener what she's got.
Lauren's mom expects her daughter to do well.
"She's ahead on some things, she knows all of her states; she knows the capitals of most of the states," says Michell Waterman.
But she also says she knows she and her daughter will have to work on some other things like learning to tie her shoes.
These screenings test three major areas: motor skills, like jumping and hand eye coordination; concepts, like counting, colors, and sorting; and language skills, such as saying the A,B,C's and rhyming.
"It gives the teacher, just a kind of a starting point with each child," says Head Screener, Susan Uffmann.
"I think these screenings are a good idea because then parents know where their kids are compared to their peers, and they know if they're really behind on some things they've got some stuff to work on," says Waterman.
Uffmann also checks the child's sight and hearing.
"It tells you where the child's strengths are, where their weaknesses are, and then we can give ideas or handouts as to other suggestions on it, but it is not a pass fail," says Uffmann.
Uffmann says the information will go on to the child's teachers to let them know what she knows and what she needs to work on.
Lauren's mom says she'll use the screening, too.
"I take it seriously if the teachers in the screening say that they need to work on things, I would work on those things and not blow it off because you're just going to set your kids up for some tough issues when they start kindergarten, and they'll be behind all the other children, and they're going to struggle, and we don't want our kids to struggle," says Waterman.
And Lauren says she just enjoyed the games she got to play.
To get more information about screening, or to make an appointment to get your child screened, you can call the Springfield Public Schools' Parents as Teachers program at 417-523-1160.
If the screeners identify a problem during the process, like a behavioral problem or a possible learning disability, Uffmann says first the screener will ask the parent if they see that behavior or problem at home to make sure it's typical and not just happening because of a bad day or a different environment.
Then the screener will make a note for that child's teacher just as a heads up so the teacher and parent can watch and go from there.