With the passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children’s Act of 1975 (Public Law 94-142) and reauthorization of IDEA in 2004, the federal government mandates that early intervention be a key in educating young children ages 3 to 5 with developmental disabilities to achieve their highest potential.
Students are provided access to a range of high quality learning opportunities in the natural environment which is where young children would be playing, learning, and participating if they did not have a disability. Our goal is to provide inclusion opportunities for 3-5 year old students to be educated alongside age appropriate peers with supports whenever possible to meet federal guidelines as well as to mutually benefit both the young child with special needs and the typically developing peer.
The Special Education Early Childhood Program provides early intervention services to nurture the social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development of young students. The program instructs the students in the skills they need to appropriately interact with family, school, and community, as independently as possible within the realm of their capabilities. The program is committed to fostering positive self-esteem and a healthy respect for individual differences. It is also our goal to promote a sense of belonging and active participation for every child whether they are educated in the home, community, or school setting.
The Special Education Early Childhood Program attempts to improve each child’s abilities through developmentally appropriate practices with activity-based instruction and a functional, child-based curriculum based on the Louisiana Early Learning Standards. The Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale-R is used to balance child initiated activities with teacher directed activities and establish the daily schedule within the classroom setting. This promotes predictability, a sense of security, and helps students make smooth transitions to become progressively independent. Learning occurs throughout daily routines and activities. Classroom activities may include story time, thematic unit activities, art, music, large motor development, fine motor development, and hygiene, snack, and rest time. Children learn through play in centers such as blocks, housekeeping, library, art, science, and table toys. The classrooms are equipped with a variety of art media, manipulatives, computers, and other assistive devices.
The Special Education Early Childhood Program serves 3-5 year old students who are identified as having a disabling condition. The disabling condition is identified by an evaluation conducted or reviewed by Child Search, a multi-disciplinary evaluation team. A child is eligible if his/her disabling condition meets criteria for an exceptionality specified in the Louisiana Department of Education Pupil Appraisal Handbook.