Each school board is required to have approved and in operation by
September, 1981, procedures to identify each child's level of development,
learning abilities and needs and to ensure that educational programs are
designed to accommodate these needs and to facilitate each child's growth and
development. These procudures are a part of a continuous assessment and program
planning process which should be initiated when a child is first enrolled in
school or no later than the beginning of a program of studies immediately
following Kindergarten and should continue throughout a child's school life.
It is expected that school boards having adopted procedure known to be in
tune with the development characteristics of young children will continue to
refine them as staff knowledge and experience increases.
Some Principles for Early Identification
- Language development is a major component of early identification. It is
important, therefore, that procedures used be in English for an English
speaking child and in French for a French speaking child. Where a child's
language is other than English or French, a reasonable delay in the language
based aspects of assessment should be considered.
- Teachers in consultation with parents must strive to know each child as
soon and as thoroughly as possible in order to provide learning opportunities
that will help each child. It is imperative that children and their parents do
not feel that they are in an "examination-test" situation when
information related to the provision of learning opportunities is obtained.
Where necessary other professionals may assist in this process.
- A variety of strategies should be used to maintain an ongoing review of
each child's emotional, social, intellectual and physical development.
- Continuous assessment from different perspectives should be followed up
with suitable programs that reflect what is known about each child at any point
in time. Such programs should be provided in an environment wherein the child
- Information derived from assessment should be treated as tentative and
temporary; it is not appropriate to use these data to predict children's
- Teachers may identify some children with special needs who require further
assessment. Teachers should consult with other professionals to determine
appropriate learning programs.
Some Resources for Early Identification
- In recent years there has been much activity in the development of
instruments for use in early identification procedures. Careful analysis and
review of these instruments in the context of primary education is essential.
- Research consistently confirms that a supportive teacher who implements
programs suited to children's individual needs and who provides immediate,
positive reactions about developing competencies and attitudes, is a very
reliable authority for deciding what a child can and cannot do.
- Teachers may need to reinforce their interview skills, their skills in
interpreting different facets of child behaviour, and their abilities to
recognize when other professional assistance is necessary.
activities should be developed to accommodate these needs. Professional
activity days could be used most effectively for this purpose.
- Personnel within Ontario's 43 public health units may be able to assist
school boards with relevant social and health information. Contact with the
local medical officers of health is encouraged.
In jurisdictions where
parents provide teachers with social and health information, parents must be
assured that the information will be kept confidential, and that it will be
used in establishing good educational programs for children.
- Within regional offices of the Ministry of Education, designated staff
members have responsibility for assisting boards with matters relating to early
- A resource guide to The Formative Years, tentatively entitled
"The Beginning Years of School" is being prepared by the Ministry of
Education. This guide will provide suggestions for implementing early
identification procedures within the context of early childhood programs.
- The Ministry of Education has initiated a number of research studies
designed to provide up-to-date information meeting the needs of young children.
The reports are available either in microfiche or as bound copies from:
Ontario Government Bookstore, 880 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario M7A 1N8
Learning abilities: identification and intervention practices (1981)
Mr. Iain Davidson, Dr. Margaret Hughes, Dr. Harry Silverman, Ontario Institute
for Studies in Education. $5.00
This study describes early identification procedures and intervention
programs being used in Ontario, evaluates the reliability and validity of these
techniques, and outlines criteria for choosing appropriate instruments and
The Windsor early identification project (1976).
Dr. K. G. O'Bryan, Ontario Educational Communications Authority
The approach used in the Windsor Project was multi-disciplinary, involving
educators, psychologists, the medical profession and the research team. The
tests developed were designed for Windsor but have general applicability with
some local modification. Bound copy $2.50 Microfiche (ON00565) $1.50
Le projet de dépistage précoce de Windsor (1976)
Dr. K. G. O'Bryan, Ontario Education communications Authority
Bound copy $2.50 Microfiche (ON00565) $1.50
Children's characteristics on school entry (1980)
(Junior Kindergarten, Senior Kindergarten and Grade 1)
Dr. G. A. V. Morgan, University of Guelph.
The research team developed a set of instruments and used them on a
representative sample of children entering school for the first time to
identify the skills and abilities that they had acquired. Data was also
collected on parents' expectations of the school program well as the schools'
expectations of the beginning children. $5.00
Identification of learning disabilities in Ontario: A study of thi
validity of assessment instruments and procedures (1980)
Dr. Robert B. MacIntyre - Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
In addition to examining instruments and procedures, the researchers studied
the process used in schools to generate, apply and interpret data. The report
includes an annotated list of major tests with a validity summary for tests
specific to the learning disability issue.
Early childhood education: perceptions of programs and children's
Dr. M. W. Wahlstrom, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
Ontario programs for children aged three to eight are described and
analysed. Issues relevant to Early Childhood Education are outlined and related
to the delivery of services through the programs of various agencies. $5.00
Kindergarten programs: effects of regular half day, alternate full
day, and daily full day programs
Dr. Andrew Biemiller, University of Toronto.
The study examined the effects of the three types of program on the
children's health, temperament, preferences and their skills in a variety of
academic and social situations. Microfiche (ON01480) $1.50
- Many school boards have had early identification procedure in place for
some time; they can provide valuable information to boards wishing assistance.
A random sample of early identification programs around the province is
presented in Curriculum Connections No. 14, October 1979, a publication
available from the Ontario Association for Curriculum Development, c/o Edgewood
Junior Public School, 230 Birkdale Road, Scarborough, Ontario, M1P 3S4. A
reference copy is held by the:
Ontario Ministry of Education