The Maryville Public Library and the local Parents as Teachers program will co-host a child health screening event next week.
Screenings will take place at the library, which is located at the corner of Fifth and Main just north of the courthouse square. Times are 3-6 p.m. Friday, March 15, and 8-11 a.m. Saturday, March 16.
Traditionally held at schools, the library is launching its project due to a loss of grant funding at the R-II School District.
Library director Stephanie Patterson said it will be the first time MPL has offered the screenings, which are open to children between the ages of six months and five years.
"We're just providing another opportunity for parents to have their children screened," Patterson said. "We hope that the schools can recover funding. We had parents asking for more screenings, so we worked this out."
In past years, screenings have been offered at Eugene Field Elementary School for students living inside R-II's boundaries. The library program will serve children countywide and embraces districts that straddle the county line.
Testing areas include language, cognitive development, social-emotional development, motor skills, hearing, vision and general health.
Older children will be given tasks to complete. The parents of infants and young toddlers will be asked to fill out a questionnaire.
"It gives parents ideas on where their kids are in those areas," Patterson said. "And then we have referrals for parents who want more information."
Patterson urged parents to have their children screened but emphasized that the results are indicators, not grades, and that multiple screens are desirable.
"Sometimes kids just have bad days," Patterson said. "We all do.
Sometimes they just don't cooperate. That's why more screenings give a better idea of where children are with certain skills."
Patterson said the library is not trying compete with area schools but simply working with Parents as Teachers to provide an important service.
"We hope that we can catch the people who fell through the cracks," Patterson said. "Maybe they couldn't make it to the other screenings for some reason. This is a chance to see where their child is with these skills."
The screenings will be conducted by volunteers, mostly former educators.
Some funds for the program were provided by Nodaway Valley Bank, but donations are still welcome.
"The library has worked to make this happen without hurting our budget," Patterson said. "We'll make it happen no matter what, but we could really use more volunteers."
Patterson said parents should sign their children up as soon as possible, and volunteers can enlist their help at any time.
"Slots are filling up really quick," she said. "I encourage parents to call and make an appointment."
Page 2 of 2 - Eugene Field Principal Holly Brady said that if enough parents express interest, an additional screening date may be scheduled for students living inside R-II.
Brady said all Missouri school districts are required to hold screenings, but that policies vary as to how many are scheduled each year. Eugene Field's most recent screening took place last month.
"We had a really good turnout, but we could have taken more," she said.
Parents interested in taking their children to the library screening should call (660) 582-5281. The process takes between 30 minutes to an hour depending on the child's age.