What Is the Denver Developmental Growth Chart?

Young preschooler in classroom
... Alena Ozerova/Hemera/Getty Images

The Denver Developmental Growth Chart is an important tool used by preschools across the country to identify special needs children, which enables parents and teachers to begin intervention strategies. The test also helps to assess whether a child is ready to begin kindergarten.

1 What It Is

The Denver Developmental Growth Chart, or Denver II, has been used by educational professionals for more than 20 years to assess the development of preschool-age children.

2 What It Does

The Denver II assesses four areas of development: social (which includes smiling, laughing and cooperative or parallel play), fine motor (drawing, using the pincer grasp), gross motor (walking, running and jumping) and language development (stringing together two or more words) by comparing a child's progress against a series of norms.

3 What It Focuses On

The purpose of the Denver II is to identify children who may be at risk and in need of special services. It is not a diagnostic tool; it is only intended to identify whether or not the child is in the normal range of development.

4 How It's Used

Head Start and other preschools often use this assessment in their programs. The preschool teacher or other early childhood education professional administers the test through a series of observations. The administrator checks the behavior he or she sees.

5 Why It's Worthwhile

The major benefit of the Denver II is that if a child is determined to be at risk, teachers and parents have ample time to intervene and get that child the support and extra help so that the child can get to where he or she needs to be developmentally.

Carrie Jeffries holds a bachelor's degree in literature from Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo. She taught preschool for two years and high school English for three. Writing has always been a favorite hobby, and she is currently working on a series of short mysteries.