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Early Years

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A young child's first developmental assessment can be a nerve-wracking experience for both the child and the parents.

A new guide from Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families gives parents tips on how to prepare for the process and offers professionals recommendations on how to get a more accurate measurement of a child's abilities.

New Visions for the Developmental Assessment of Infants and Young Children was written in collaboration with parents who have been through testing with their children.

Suggestions for professionals include:

  • Young children should never be separated during the assessment from their parents or caregivers.
  • Formal tests or tools should not be the cornerstone of the assessment.
  • Standardized tests should be part of a broader approach.

Parents, the book says, should not worry about learning all the technical terms. But they should feel free to disagree with the professionals if they believe the assessment doesn't accurately reflect their child's capabilities.

Based in Washington, Zero to Three trains infant- and family-care professionals, disseminates information, and promotes policies relevant to children during the first three years of life.

To order a copy of New Visions, call Zero to Three at (800) 899-4301. The price is $35, plus $4 for shipping and handling.

Preschoolers aren't too young to learn principles such as friendship, bravery, fairness, and truthfulness, according to the Heartwood Institute, a nonprofit ethics institute based in Pittsburgh.

The institute has designed an ethics curriculum to be used in day-care centers. The subject matter is based on the group's similar program for elementary schools.

The seven qualities of courage, loyalty, justice, respect, hope, honesty, and love--used with elementary school children--have been adapted for a younger audience.

The curriculum attempts to teach preschool students the concepts of being brave, being a friend, being fair, respecting, wishing, telling the truth, and caring.

Heartwood uses stories from various cultures to convey the ideas. Additionally, the curriculum includes activities for parents to use with their children at home.

For information on the curriculum, call the Heartwood Institute at (412) 688-8570 or (800) Heart-10.


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