Where Do You Go To Preschool?

May 20, 2014 by

Recently, I attended National Alternative Certification conference hosted in Anaheim, CA. In conversation with attendees, the subject emerged regarding pre-school programs being launched on a broad scale across the states. Literacy has become a major conversation with educators across the states beginning now with pre-kindergarten classes and including special needs children.

Dr. Belinda Karge and Hope Bosheff , educators at Cal State University , Fullerton, both engaged with the NAAC, had much to say about pre-k and special needs children. This testimony has much to offer those who may want or need more information.

Delia Stafford

Where Do You Go To Preschool – At an Elementary School?

Hope Bosheff, M.Ed.

Belinda Dunnick Karge, Ph.D.

California State University, Fullerton

I was recently asked, “What type of work do you do?”

The short answer is, I am a teacher. However, my credential is very specific, so I went on to explain I am an Education Specialist in the area of Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE). This credential allows me to teach children with disabilities, from birth to age five. Currently I am teaching preschoolers with special needs. I have a bachelor’s degree in Child Development, an Education Specialist teaching credential, and a Master degree in Education.

The person I was conversing with then asked, “So how do young children get preschool special education services?” This question prompted the contents of this article.

There are a few ways in which preschool age children may begin receiving services through the education system. One way a very young child may become identified as needing special services is through their pediatrician. The parents may notice needs and seek assistance from their doctor or a referral can be made to a developmental pediatrician or other specialist if there is a concern about a child’s development. This can lead to comprehensive assessments to determine if a child has a significant delay or disability and requires specialized help. Most insurances will fund this assessment process.

Another way for a very young child to become identified is through the local Child Find office. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires each state to have systems in place to identify, locate, and evaluate children with disabilities who are in need of special education and related services. This includes American military bases overseas.

Often it is a babysitter or daycare provider who might express a concern and suggest to the parents that they contact the appropriate agency to have their child screened.

However parents do not have to wait for someone to suggest that their child be screened. If they are concerned about their child’s development they can locate the child find office through their local school district and arrange to have their child screened.

Children who are receiving early intervention services may begin special education preschool services, (a) upon their transition out of early intervention at age three if they continue to qualify for services; or (b) at the state’s discretion, two-year-olds who will turn three during the school year may receive special education preschool services; or (c) other children are first identified and found eligible between the ages of two and five and may begin receiving services as preschoolers.

Where would a preschooler with special needs receive the services they need?”

At age three, a child with special needs receives services from the public school system Most of these services are provided by the school district in which the child resides and quite possibly at the child’s home school, sometimes referred to as their school of residence.

Who pays for these services?”

Every state receives money from the federal government. When school districts are in compliance with federal regulations they can apply for such funds. Most districts also have supplemental funds from private or public sources to develop high quality preschool programs.

If you find yourself on an elementary school campus and see three and four year old children going to class, singing rhymes, running on the playground, learning to ride tricycles, eating their lunch, blowing bubbles, learning how to use their wheelchairs, sliding down the slide, practicing catching and throwing a ball, drawing with sidewalk chalk, or playing a game with their teachers and other adults who support them, you are probably looking at a class similar to mine.

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