Early Childhood

Developmental Screening Tool


NYCDOE Expectations 

Developmental screening is a key part of a student's transition into a pre-K classroom. Pre-K for All programs are required to use a valid and reliable developmental screening tool to identify potential developmental delays and language support needs. Screening tools assist educators in learning about the various aspects of a child’s development, such as language, cognition, perception, and motor development.

Approved Developmental Screening Tools

The Division of Early Childhood Education (DECE) has approved three developmental screening tools:

Key Requirements

  • Pre-K Teachers are required to administer a developmental screening to all students within 45 calendar of enrollment.
  • Staff administering the developmental screenings should take into consideration the needs and backgrounds of the students that they are serving and ensure that screenings are implemented using culturally, linguistically, and developmentally responsive materials.
    • Developmental screenings do not have to be administered to students with Individualized Education Programs (IEP).
    • If a student's screening results indicate that they need to be rescreened for any reason, Pre-K for All programs are required to rescreen the student within 8-10 weeks.

If a student is unable to complete the screening in one of the offered languages (for the ESI-R tool, these languages include Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, English, Spanish, Cantonese, and Russian), see the "Screening Results" section below for more information.

NYSED UPK Regulations - Section 151-1.3(c)(1)

Commissioner's Regulations - Section 117.3

Important Dates

 Dates  Expectation
 Summer Order screening materials.
Complete screening training on WeTeachNYC.org
First Day of School Year Send the Introduction to Developmental Screening letter to families (see below) 
Begin screening enrolled children.

45 Calendar Days from Enrollment

All children must be screened within 45 calendar days of enrollment.

 21 Calendar Days from Screening

Screening outcomes are to be submitted via Payroll/Vendor Portal within 21 days of each child’s screen.

Between 8 – 10 weeks from Screening
(56 and 70 Calendar Days)

All children who were screened and whose outcomes indicate a rescreening must be rescreened in this two-week period.

After December 1, 2016

All children enrolled after December 1st must be screened within 15 calendar days of enrollment.
Screening outcomes for these children must be submitted within 21 calendar days of screening.
Rescreening for these children must occur 8 to 10 weeks from the initial screen. .


Early Screening Inventory - Revised (ESI-R)


Pre-K leaders are responsible for ensuring that staff administering the developmental screening meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Must have an understanding of basic principles of standardized tests, including:
    • Knowledge of methods to ensure objectivity in administration of the tool
    • Importance of following standard procedures for administration and scoring
  • Must be a pre-K leader, teacher, paraprofessional, or other staff member experienced in early childhood education, with an understanding of early childhood behavior and development.
  • Must complete training to include observation of an examiner administering the tool (through WeTeachNYC.org or in-person training).
  • Must be fluent and proficient in the language(s) used to administer the developmental screening tool (including Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, English, Spanish, Cantonese, and Russian if using ESI-R).

Self-paced training for ESI-R is available at WeTeachNYC.org.

ESI-R Materials

The Division of Early Childhood Education provides materials for the ESI-R.
You may reuse leftover ESI-R materials dating back to School Year 2008 - 2009. 

Please submit your material request here.

Available ESI-R materials include:

  • Examiner’s manual (one per class)
  • Screening materials (one per class) 
    •     4 shape cards 
    •     6 picture cards 
    •     10 blocks 
    •     1 button 
    •     1 rubber ball 
    •     1 toy car 
    •     1, 8-foot measuring tape 
    •     1 tote bag
  • English Parent Questionnaire (one per child) 

       English | Arabic | Bengali | Chinese | Spanish | Russian

  • English ESI-P Scoring Sheet (one per child)

       English | Arabic | Bengali | Chinese | Spanish | Russian

The ESI-P Scoring Sheet applies to children ages 3.0 through 4.5.
The ESI-K Scoring Sheet applies to children ages 4.6 through 5.11
Refer to your site’s pre-K enrollment information for the child’s age and primary home language

Teachers will need to provide the following additional materials:

  • 8 ½” x 11” piece of cardboard or manila file folder (to be used as a screen)
  • 2 sheets of 8 ½” x 11” construction paper (block building surface)
  • Plain white 8 ½” x 11” unlined paper (drawing tasks)
  • Pencil without an eraser


Self-paced training for the ESI-R is available via WeTeachNYC.org

For additional information, e-mail prekscreening@schools.nyc.gov.

Communicating with Families

At the start of the school year, NYCDOE funded Pre-K for All programs are required to send the following Introduction to Developmental Screening letter to families of enrolled children. In response to this letter, families may opt out of developmental screening.

English | ArabicBengali |ChineseFrench |Haitian Creole |Korean | Russian |Spanish | Urdu


Screening Outcomes

Screening results must be reported to the Division of Early Childhood Education through Payroll or Vendor Portal.

Screening outcomes must also be communicated to families.
The method of communication is at the discretion of the site leader.


IEP Exemption

If a child begins the year with an IEP, they are exempt from screening. IEP Exemption letters should be sent to families.

English | ArabicBengali |ChineseFrench |Haitian Creole |Korean | Russian |Spanish | Urdu

Language Exception

If a child is unable to complete the developmental screening in English, or Spanish, Chinese (Simplified/Traditional), Bengali or Arabic the screening should be marked as "OK" when entering the outcomes into Payroll and Vendor Portal, and “language exception” should be entered in the comments area. The Pre-K program should work to provide the child with language support and instruction, as well as send the Language Exception letter to families.

English | ArabicBengali |ChineseFrench |Haitian Creole |Korean | Russian |Spanish | Urdu 

Gifted and Talented Request for Testing

The Division of Early Childhood Education invites all families to submit a Request for Testing regardless of screening outcomes.


The Division of Early Childhood Education requires that if a child scores below the referral cutoff on the ESI-R or a comparable developmental screening tool, families and programs should work together to collect information, support the child, and determine next steps. If, after implementing a variety of strategies and/or supports, programs and/or families still have concerns regarding a child's progress and believe that he or she may need additional support, the parent can make a referral to the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) for special education services.

Referral cutoffs are available in the ESI-R manual and are differentiated by age.
Methods of referral are at the discretion of the site leader.

Data Submission

ESI-R data entry instructions are available here.

Public school teachers can enter data using Payroll Portal under the DOE Applications tab, using UPK Survey.
CBO teachers can enter data using the Vendor Portal.

Additional Resources

ESI-R Age Calculator 

This webpage is for early childhood educators and administrators; it contains copyright protected material that is critical for educators and administrators to have to implement ESI-R. It is a violation of copyright to share this information beyond your school.