OUNCE Scale - Minnesota
The Ounce Scale (2003), was
developed by Dr. Samuel Meisels, Amy Dombro, Dorothea Marsden, Dr. Donna
Weston and Abigail Jewkes as a functional assessment measure from birth to
age 3 years. The challenge for the developers was to design an assessment
tool that transforms developmental information into meaningful
interventions. This means assessing a child's performance of skills and
behaviors within the everyday, naturalistic contexts that make up his or
her day. At the core of this tool is the observation of a child's
functional accomplishments by both parents and service providers. This
data then provide a framework from which to design program planning,
relationship building experiences and specific interventions.
Brief Overview of the Ounce
Scale Assessment System
The Ounce Scale is an observational
assessment for evaluating infants' and toddlers' development over a period
of three and a half years - from Birth to 3 1/2. It's purpose is twofold:
(1) to provide guidelines and standards for observing and interpreting
young children's growth and behavior, and (2) to provide information that
parents and caregivers can use in everyday interactions with their
The Ounce Scale
has three elements:
The Observation Record
provides a focus for observing and documenting children's everyday
behaviors and provides data for making evaluations about development.
The Family Album provides
a structure for parents to learn about and record their child's
development as they write down what they see, using photos, telling
stories, and responding to observation questions that are the same as
the ones in the caregiver's Observation Record.
The Developmental Profile
enables caregivers and other staff to evaluate each child's development
and progress over time, comparing their observation data to specific
A User's Guide, the Standards for the
Developmental Profiles, and Reproducible Masters are also available to
assist you in implementing the Ounce Scale.
The Ounce Scale is organized around six
major areas of development:
Connections It's About Trust: How children show that
they trust familiar adults.
About Self Learning About Me: How children express who
With Other Children Child to Child: What children do
around other children.
and Communicating Baby and Toddler Talk: How children
understand and communicate.
and Problem Solving Seek and Solve: How children
explore and figure things out.
6. Movement and Coordination
Body Basics: How children move their bodies and use their hands
to do things.
The Ounce Scale provides an interactive
system of documentation, monitoring, and evaluation of development for
Early Head Start programs, early intervention programs, (including
children at risk for special needs or those with disabilities), and other
home and center based infant, toddler, and preschool childcare in the
community. It provides a meaningful way to evaluate children's
accomplishments, areas of difficulty, and approaches to learning. There is
guidance to thinking about future goals so that family and caregivers can
work together. Families and caregivers using the Ounce Scale learn to
observe their children and to use this information to enhance
relationships and support development.
Comparison of Areas of
Development to Traditional Domains
Social and Emotional Development
Its About Trust How children show they trust
How children build relationships with familiar
How children respond to unfamiliar adults.
Feelings About Self:
Learning About Me How children express who they
The way children express who they are, their
personality, their temperament, the way they are building self
esteem, learning independence.
How children manage their own behavior, self regulation.
Expression of feelings, learning social skills when expressing
feelings, needs, and wants.
Relationships With Other Children:
Child to Child What children do around
The way children show awareness of other
children, interact with and play with them.
Recognizing and responding to other children feelings (empathy).
Understanding and Communication:
Child Talk How children understand and
Receptive language understanding gestures,
words, directions, questions and routines.
Expressive language using gestures, words, several words together,
conventions of speech, expressing thoughts and ideas.
Participating in conversations.
Exploration and Problem Solving:
Seek and Solve How children explore and
figure things out
How children attend, pay attention, explore,
and understand concepts of color, size, matching, weight, and
Memory, reasoning ability, imagination.
Making things happen, purposeful activity, expectations of planned
results, anticipating consequences, solving problems.
Movement and Coordination:
Body Basics How children move their bodies
and use their hands to do things
Gross motor controlling body, moving around,
combining movements, playing games
Fine motor reaching, holding, letting go, intentional exploration,
eye-hand coordination, creative activities
if you would like more information about OUNCE or for help in finding
educational opportunities in your area.