For many of you, your child's first day of preschool is full of pride, excitement, a bit of nervousness, and a sense of sorrow as you watch your child walk through the door for that short day of academic instruction that awaits them!
Now imagine that you have a child with special needs that you are sending off for his or her first day of school. Up to this point in time, most services are provided in home for children birth-3 years old with special needs. A teacher or therapist has come to your home, and you have been strongly involved by observing and participating in your child's early intervention. Suddenly, you are being told to pack up your child, with his lunchbox and drop him off at an unfamiliar location, with unfamiliar people. Not only are these people unfamiliar with your child, he is unfamiliar with them. They do not know all of his aggressive behaviors, or that he is not able to sit for an extended period of time without an air cushion to sit on. They do not know he has never sat through an entire version of "Where is Thumbkin?" or bites when he is overstimulated or nervous. The district's initial assessment and IEP (Individualized Education Program) has gone into as much detail as possible, but these are all things you remembered after the IEP! So how are you going to make your child's first day of SDC (Special Day Class) preschool as easy as possible?
Here are a few helpful hints from an SDC Preschool Teacher:
- Take your child to the school a few times prior to the first day. Becoming familiar with an unfamiliar environment will decrease your child's anxiety (not to mention yours).
- Take a photo of the school and playground and show your child the photo as often as possible in those days leading up to the first day of school.
- Ask the school secretary where drop off and pick up is, what size the crowd is, and how long they usually need to wait until the teacher arrives to greet her students. This will let you know how early to come, and if you should pack a bag of tricks to keep your little on entertained.
- As soon as you find out who your child's teacher is, visit the school website and print out a photo of the teacher (if one is available). Show your child often so that he may become familiar with this person's face.
- Have the emergency paperwork all filled out and stick it in the teacher's box when you visit the campus. This way you are not scrambling to do it at the last minute. Also, it is difficult for the teacher to work on separation anxiety and other issues at drop off time; the last thing she wants is paperwork in her hand while she is trying to make sure no one elopes. :) And dropping it off early ensures she will already have it in the classroom in case of an emergency the first day.
- Email the teacher as soon as you find out who it will be and provide her with any important information. Bullet it and keep it short and concise. Be sure to include allergies, special diet and medical needs, behaviors, and reinforcers that work for your child. Most of this is probably listed in the IEP but emails are great. She will appreciate this.
- The first day can be extremely difficult, especially during pick up. All the parents have questions and concerns and sometimes it is difficult to keep your eye on your students while multiple parents ask you questions. Give the teacher thumbs up, and if she does not give a thumbs up back, then talk to her. If she gives thumbs up back, you are golden. If you still want to learn about your child's first day, go home and email or call her immediately and she will more than likely be able to chat for a few minutes.
- Make sure your child has plenty of food, water, spare clothes and diapers (all should be labeled with his name) packed in his backpack (his name should be on the backpack too).
- Practice separating from your child several times before the first day of school. Even if that means leaving them with grandma for one hour, one time per week. It is very difficult when the first day of school is your child's first time ever separating from you! Learning to follow all the rules is hard enough; don't make your child have to separate for the first time on this day too!
- Be calm. If your child senses you are upset, he will be upset too.
- Go shopping or relax! Enjoy your 'found' time. You deserve it!
As summer approaches, you want to make sure your child and your family has a succsessful and fun vacation. This can mean different things to different familes, as all children and families are unique, and what works for one child may not work for another. Regardless of disability, research shows that all children thrive on predicatability and clear expectations. Planning a summer schedule may initially take some time, but the end result will be well worth it.
Take some time to purchase a calendar specifically for your child. Hang it in his room, and use it to plan out each week and talk with him about what he or she will be doing. If your child is young you can use stickers as visuals and then break down the day further by having a daily visual schedule where you use visual icons to show him exactly what the day will look like. Visual icons are often used for children with autism, but are very beneficial to all young children. If your child is older you can write on the calendar what he will be doing for the day, and use a daily written schedule to give him a clear perception of what will happen next. The really great thing about daily schedules is that they are portable. You can take the schedule with you. If you creat a small enough one, you can keep it in your purse to access it throughout the day as needed. If you are looking to download free visual icons, check out Practical Autism Resources.
If you are going somewhere unfamiliar or that has clear expectations such as a restaurant or movie theatre, develop a social story that shows exactly how your child should behave while there. The Gray Center describes social stories, how to use them, as well as how to write them. It is helpful to have several pre-made of different important events that could surface during this time of year. You can keep them in your car if necessary.
Also, have several bags of tricks ready. For example, 2 bags of tricks- one for "quiet time" and one for "friend time". Each bag should have items that are highly preferred for your child, age appropriate, and that can bring about the behavior described by the title of the bag. A "quiet time" bag might have favorite books, stickers, playdough/putty, lacing, and whatever else your child likes to play quietly. A quiet bag is great for doctor appointments, restaurant visits, or anywhere your child needs to wait or play quietly. A "friend time" bag might have bubbles, a game that involves turn taking, a small ball to play catch, and other highly preferred toys that promote your child playing with a peer. This bag comes in handy for impromptu play dates, or meetings friends at the park. You can develop bags for any need. It takes time initially but keep them in the car and you will quickly wonder how you got by without them.
If your child knows how to use an Ipad you can dowload great websites and save them under 'Favorites'. If your child is very young and uses an Ipad for comminucation, it is recommend using a different Ipad or Ipod to play games, other than the one he uses for communication purposes. Sometimes young children that are new learners to Ipads for communication have a difficult time understanding when to access the games and when to access the communication tool they are learning to use. Your child may have a tantrum if you hand him his Ipad and expect him to communicate when he has just spent the last 30 minutes on it playing games, and now you will not let him. It is best to use two spearate tools until he is able to differentiate when it is appropriate to use which.
Lastly, you do not need to have 'big' activities planned out each day during summer. Part of the joy of summer is enjoying unrushed time to do whatever you feel like doing. One key to success is schedule 'unscheduled' into your child's day. For example, after the breakfast icon, put a play outside icon. You need not be specific all the time, everyday. Schedule those much needed breaks and leisure time. Enjoy summer, you and your child have earned it.
I recently finished a course in special education law. I found the course to be very interesting and be very near and dear to my heart. As a Special Educator we work with law everyday. Some individuals may not realize the extent that special education law plays in the role of teaching special education, but I can share with you that it plays quite a large role. As a teacher your sole purpose is to go into your classroom each day and teach your students and build their confidence so that they can go out into the world and have the capability and high self esteem to use the acquired knowledge they have learned over the years to lead a successful and fulfilling life. I think this view of teaching is the same for both general and special education teachers. Though sometimes the way they help their students succeed is different, overall we have the same ultimate goals.
Where special education starts to go off the beaten path is in the vast arena of special education law. Special education law is truly so in-depth it is no doubt it can be difficult to understand. I know as an educator my goal is to help my families I work with understand all they can about their rights for their child, and what is in their child's best interest.
Over the years we have seen the education system change and move away from various teaching methodologies and practices and lean towards others. Those of us that have been in education for a while know that the pendulum swings every so often, and the most important thing is to know each child and their individual needs and use the most beneficial approach for him or her. The law talks about many things and is extremely valuable because of what it provides to us, but our approach to teaching is what makes the biggest difference. It is what happens from the moment you greet the student you are working with, or finding that teachable moment that sparks their interest and imagination.
As special educators part of our job is to know and understand the law and advocate for our students. When you really look at special education law, it goes hand in hand with teaching. In special education you cannot have one without the other. Without special education law, how would we navigate the process of obtaining an appropriate education? Without teaching, what would a great deal of special education law be fighting for? These are questions that lead us as special educators to embrace special education law and want to know more. It is no surprise that as an educator I believe in continuing education, and that we never stop learning no matter what we do or how we do it. Building a strong collaboration between special education law and teaching is imperative in today's world to continue to better the way we help individuals with special needs. We have come a long way in both areas, but it takes change agents to continue this growth and progress!
Thank you to author Marissa Walker, B.S., EAGALA l
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) incorporates horses experientially for emotional growth and learning. it is a collaborative effort between a licensed therapist and a horse professional working with the clients and horses to address treatment goals. Because of its intensity and effectiveness, it is considered a short-term, or "brief" approach.
EAP is experiential in nature. This means that participants learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with the horses, and then processing (or discussing) feelings, behaviors, and patterns. This approach has been compared to the ropes courses used by therapists, treatment facilities, and human development courses around the world. But EAP has the added advantage of utilizing horses, dynamic and powerful living beings.
Not all programs or individuals who use horses
practice Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. For one, licensed (in the
EAP is a powerful and effective therapeutic approach that has an incredible impact on individuals, youth, famlies, and groups. EAP addresses a variety of mental health and human development needs including behavioral issues, attention deficit disorder, PTSD, substance abuse, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, relationship problems and communication needs.
Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) is similar to EAP but where the focus is on learning or educational goals. EAL still involves the team of mental health professional and horse professional working with the clients and horses. The focus however is on education and learning specific skills as defined by the individual or group, such as improved product sales for a company, leadership skills for a school group, or resiliency training for our military warriors.
The potential applications for both EAP and EAL are limitless! For more information on the possibilities, contact us at EAGALA.
The EAGALA Model provides a standard and structure for providing Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning sessions. Practicing within a model establishes a foundation of key values and beliefs, and provides a basis of good practice and professionalism. The EAGALA Model provides a framework of practice, but within that framework, there are infinite opportunities for creativity and adaptability to various therapeutic and facilitating styles.
The EAGALA Model
The Team Approach – An Equine Specialist, a Mental Health professional, and horses work together with clients in all EAGALA sessions
· Focus on the ground – All EAGALA sessions are on the ground with horses (no mounted work)
· Solution-Oriented – The belief that our clients have the best solutions for themselves forms a foundation for the EAGALA approach. Rather than instructing or directing solutions, we allow our clients to experiment, problem-solve, take risks, employ creativity, and find their own solutions that work best for them.
· Code of Ethics - EAGALA has a code of ethics, and has a standard of professionalism and ethics.
The EAGALA Team
· The Horse: Horses have many characteristics which lend them to being effective agents of change, including honesty, awareness, and ability with nonverbal communication. The role of the horses in an EAGALA session is to be themselves.
· The Equine Specialist (ES): The ES chooses the horses to be used in sessions, works with the MH to develop activities, keeps an equine log to document horse behaviors in sessions, stays aware of safety and welfare of clients, horses, and team, and makes observations of horse SPUD’s (an EAGALA-developed observation framework taught in the certification training program) which can bring in potential metaphors.
· The Mental Health Professional (MH): The MH is responsible for treatment planning, documentation of clients, and ensuring ethical practice. The MH builds on the ES’s horse observations, bringing in the metaphoric and therapeutic/learning relevance of the session.
Those who are familiar with horses recognize and understand the power of horses to influence people in incredibly powerful ways. Developing relationships, training, horsemanship instruction, and caring for horses naturally affects the people involved in a positive manner.
The benefits of work ethic, responsibility, assertiveness, communication, and healthy relationships has long been recognized. Horses naturally provide these benefits. The use of horses is growing and gaining popularity with the rise of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning.
We are often asked, "Why horses? Why not other animals?"
Naturally intimidating to many, horses are large and powerful. This creates a natural opportunity for some to overcome fear and develop confidence. Working alongside a horse, in spite of those fears, creates confidence and provides wonderful insight when dealing with other intimidating and challenging situations in life.
Like humans, horses are social animals, with defined roles within their herds. They would rather be with their peers. They have distinct personalities, attitudes and moods; an approach that works with one horse won’t necessarily work with another. At times, they seem stubborn and defiant. They like to have fun. In other words, horses provide vast opportunities for metaphorical learning, an effective technique when working with even the most challenging individuals or groups.
Horses require us to work, whether in caring for them or working with them. In an era when immediate gratification and the "easy way" are the norm, horses require people to be engaged in physical and mental work to be successful, a valuable lesson in all aspects of life.
Most importantly, horses mirror human body language. Many complain, "This horse is stubborn. That horse doesn't like me," etc. The lesson is that if they change themselves, the horses respond differently. Horses are honest, which makes them especially powerful messengers.
EAGALA Model of equine assisted psychotherapy is solidly grounded in
well-established and researched theories of psychotherapy including Gestalt
Psychotherapy, Solution-Focused Psychotherapy, Cognitive-Behavioral
Psychotherapy, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Reality Psychotherapy, Experiential
Psychotherapy, and Adventure Psychotherapy.
The EAGALA Model interventions represent clinical advances in the
established practice of experiential adventure therapy (Bandoroff & News,
2004; Freeman, Nelson, & Taniguchi, 2003; Gass, 1993; Gavetti &
Levinthal, 2000; Hattie, Marsh, Neil & Richards, 1997; Luckner &
Nadler, 1997) and animal assisted psychotherapy (Anderson, 2005; Chandler,
2006; Nathans-Barel, Feldman, Berger, Modai, & Silver, 2005; Mason &
Hagan, 1999) in general and equine assisted psychotherapy (Christian, 2005;
Cumella, 2005; Frame, 2006; Hayden, 2005; Schultz, Remick-Barlow, &
Robbins, 2007; Zugich, Klontz, & Leinart, 2002), specifically.
The EAGALA Model of equine assisted psychotherapy is solidly grounded in well-established and researched theories of psychotherapy including Gestalt Psychotherapy, Solution-Focused Psychotherapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Psychotherapy, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Reality Psychotherapy, Experiential Psychotherapy, and Adventure Psychotherapy. The EAGALA Model interventions represent clinical advances in the established practice of experiential adventure therapy (Bandoroff & News, 2004; Freeman, Nelson, & Taniguchi, 2003; Gass, 1993; Gavetti & Levinthal, 2000; Hattie, Marsh, Neil & Richards, 1997; Luckner & Nadler, 1997) and animal assisted psychotherapy (Anderson, 2005; Chandler, 2006; Nathans-Barel, Feldman, Berger, Modai, & Silver, 2005; Mason & Hagan, 1999) in general and equine assisted psychotherapy (Christian, 2005; Cumella, 2005; Frame, 2006; Hayden, 2005; Schultz, Remick-Barlow, & Robbins, 2007; Zugich, Klontz, & Leinart, 2002), specifically.
A thank you to Kara for her contribution to the PDIC blog
As a mother of twins that were born 10 weeks premature we faced many bumps along the way after we were discharged from the NICU. It seemed as if we had appointments with home health, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and teachers who came to work with the boys almost 4 to 5 days a week. It was so incredibly overwhelming. The one thing that made it manageable is that aside from the Medical Doctor appointments, all these services were provided in our home.
Home services were such a gift, as one of my boys was on oxygen until 9 months and just going to visit family was difficult. When the state began budget cuts our service hours were cut, we were sent from home speech into the school and then cut completely, before as a parent, I felt he was ready. The development of my sons exceeded because they received these services in home, rather than having to get in the car, ride for up to an hour to see a specialist in an office setting and generally having to wait longer.
By the time an 18 month old to 4 year old sits for over an hour, their attention span is gone. With services provided in our home, it is around my children’s schedule and on our terms. It gives us that control you feel like you are losing when you are dealing with special needs. As a parent, when you are faced with a child or children who needs extra care, you are at the mercy of the regional center and your case workers. I do not manage well if I feel like I do not have control over how my children’s needs, and how they are being met. I want to know I am doing everything 110% to provide whatever they need.
I want my kids to grow up and succeed in any way they want to, and my role as a parent is to ensure they have the tools to do those things. That is where PDIC is such a great asset. If I want my child to receive speech therapy and the regional center is not there to provide it in my home, my insurance company will not have a provider come to my home, PDIC has that provider. As a parent it is very difficult to manage children who have extraordinary needs beyond what the clinical rubric says based on the financial situation of their funding. I have spent many days and nights worrying if my kids will get the services they need, once they are over. To have individuals who have your children’s success as their number one priority and not what the state budget says they priorities are, is a dream for a parent that wants their child to grow up and become whatever they decide they want to be. I never want to hear my child say “I do not think I can do that.”
We, as parents, have the right to choose what tools they have to make their own destiny a reality as they do not have to be held back because our state is in a financial mess.
This is a process that must begin when they are young. My kids first visit at home was two days after they left the NICU, and I will continue now that they are 4 and striving to bring any necessary services I as their parent feels they need. I am not the type of parent who will sit around and wait for the parent/teacher conference to address a situation that I may have been able to have corrected before they entered school. Parents are our children’s advocates and we can’t ever forget that. PDIC has the same number one priority as we do as parents, children’s success.
Often times in child development, and special education we talk about behavior and how it affects the life of the child. In early childhood special education, we often try to decrease misbehaviors, or teach socially acceptable behaviors in order to help a child gain social, emotional, or academic skills. In order to regulate our behaviors we must develop and nurture our Executive skills. “Executive skills allow us to organize our behavior over time and override immediate demands in favor of long term demands. Through the use of these skills we can plan and organize activities, sustain attention, and persist to complete a task. Executive skills enable us to manage our emotions and monitor our thoughts in order to work more efficiently and effectively.”(Dawson & Guare, 2010).
We are born with the capacity to use executive skills, though we should understand that executive skills are a high level cognitive function. These skills start to develop at birth and continue to develop until early adulthood. When you think of young children being able to have full control over their behaviors and learn specific skills that require self-regulation, persistence, and attention to activities, as well as others, it is easy to see that many times we try to teach these skills before children are developmentally ready. This may especially be the case in the area of special education.
There are many organizations that promote social skills groups for very young children. While teaching specific behaviors that will help gain and maintain social relationships is positive, we must remember that the ability to organize and regulate behavior, as well as sustain attention, comes from the use of these executive skills. In some cases, we are asking children to work on skills that they are not close to developmentally achieving. All children develop at different speeds, and in the case of children with special needs, they may be delayed in social and communicative areas more so than the majority of children their age. It can be frustrating to them to have an adult insisting that they learn these skills before they are ready.
It is wise to investigate the curriculum or approach that the social skills group uses. Groups should base their curriculum or activities on developmental stages. A beginning group can work on things such as eye contact, taking turns, and waiting (though these are things you can easily work on at home and do not need a social skills group to achieve).
A more advanced group should introduce skills such as understanding language (does your child understand what you are saying?), interpreting body language and facial expressions (does your child know when you are happy/sad/mad?), controlling their bodies (remember, this is a difficult skills for all young children, with or without special needs), and lastly, are they able to use their own language (do they understand that they have the ability to request or deny items, and have an opinion on demands placed on them). These are all skills that when mastered, will truly assist children in developing friendships.
A good social skills group will be based on developmental stages and will account for where your child’s current developmental level is. Remember that teaching social skills, just like teaching all skills, should have a solid foundation, and be built upon one block at a time.
Dawson, P., & Guare, R. (2010). Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents: A Practical Guide to Assessment and Intervention, 2nd Edition. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Children gain reinforcement, whether good or bad, from adults in many ways. Verbal and nonverbal communication are the most predominant ways in which adults reinforce children's behavior. You may smile when your child shares a toy with a friend, or you may appear irritated and raise your voice when your child throws a tantrum at the store because you would not buy her what she wanted. Either way, your child now has your attention, regardless of whether it is good or bad, and that is reinforcing to them.
Around the age of four or five, children start to develop a greater social awareness. Suddenly they begin to care about what their peers are doing. You may have noticed your little preschooler wanting to wear her hair a certain way, and many times this is where the "He's copying me!" may come into play.
Most importantly is the question of how to decrease the misbehaviors and reinforce the positive ones. Sometimes ignoring the child (in special education we call that putting the behavior on 'extinction'), as long as she is safe, will work, especially if she is seeking your attention. Other times, giving him the language skills he has not yet developed can help him share his feelings and the reasons behind his behaviors. In addition, when you do see a positive behavior, do not forget to reinforce it. Something as simple as a smile, wink, or thumbs up communicates through gestures, while praising your child with kind words gives her verbal reinforcement. Either is terrific, and the reinforcement of good behavior will have even greater results when you focus on the positive and not the negative. Start today by rewarding your child's positive behaviors. The results will amaze you!
This is a very brief overview regarding the differences between an IFSP and an IEP.
The IFSP and the IEP are written records of services for children with disabilities and their families, required to meet a child’s early intervention or educational needs (Handbook on developing individual family services plan and individual education programs in early childhood special education, 2001)
The IFSP is to be developed by a multidisciplinary team, which includes parents, service coordinators, person involved in conducting the evaluation and assessments, service providers, and an interpreter if necessary. The IFSP is family centered intervention for children birth through 2 years old. It was created for infants and toddlers and their families when eligible for early intervention. The team meets every 6 months or more (reflecting the rate of change in infants/toddlers). Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) (Howard, Williams, Lepper, 2005)
The IEP is to be developed by a multidisciplinary team, which includes a representative from the local educational agency, the special education teacher, the general education teacher, parents/guardians, person who can interpret the evaluations and assessments, related services personnel, the student when appropriate, other individuals at the parents’ discretion, and an interpreter if necessary. It is a legal document for students 3 years through 21 years old and is student based opposed to family centered. The content is the foundation for developing an appropriate education. It must be reviewed annually. Individualized Education Plan (IEP) (Howard, Williams, Lepper, 2005)
Around the time when your child is 2 years, 9 months old the transition to the district will begin. An initial assessment by the district will take place, and an IEP will be held by the time your child turns 3. Your child is able to start in a district program at 3 years old.
If at any time you have questions regarding this process, you should always ask your case-manager or the contact person walking you through the transition. Moving from an IFSP to an IEP can be a scary process, but the more you know, and the more you communicate and ask questions, the better you will feel!
background of early literacy and different activities parents can do with their
child to promote literacy skills help create a learning environment in which a
child can grow to be a successful student - and then adult! Early
literacy is the exposure of phonemic awareness, vocabulary, and text
comprehension during the early stages in life. Phonemic awareness is the
ability to realize that the sounds of spoken language can work together to make
sounds. One activity involving phonemic awareness is to take a three-letter
word and sound out each letter, running them together. Another activity may be
to blend the last two letters of a three-letter word and change the first
letter. There are also many songs, games, and finger plays which promote the
use of sounds. Vocabulary
is another key component of early literacy. Conversing with your child as you
walk through the grocery store can help to build your child's vocabulary.
Discuss the different items you see as you walk up and down the aisles. Talk
about the different sizes and shapes of various cereal boxes or fruits nearby.
Help your preschooler expand his or her knowledge and vocabulary by also
modeling this language. Use an "adult" word to describe something,
such as mentioning that you will help your child with his abrasion when he
falls down and gets hurt. Last
but not least, don't forget to focus on text comprehension. When reading a
story, ask your child questions, about what happened first, second, and third.
Also, read her favorite story over and over again. Children use memory skills
to recall events which have previously been read about or have already
is evidence to suggest that without exposure to early literacy activities
adults have a difficult time developing the literacy skills they need to be
successful at work, at home, and in the community. Help
your child develop school-readiness skills and start his or her school career
out on the right track. You will be happy you did!
The background of early literacy and different activities parents can do with their child to promote literacy skills help create a learning environment in which a child can grow to be a successful student - and then adult!
Early literacy is the exposure of phonemic awareness, vocabulary, and text comprehension during the early stages in life. Phonemic awareness is the ability to realize that the sounds of spoken language can work together to make sounds. One activity involving phonemic awareness is to take a three-letter word and sound out each letter, running them together. Another activity may be to blend the last two letters of a three-letter word and change the first letter. There are also many songs, games, and finger plays which promote the use of sounds.
Vocabulary is another key component of early literacy. Conversing with your child as you walk through the grocery store can help to build your child's vocabulary. Discuss the different items you see as you walk up and down the aisles. Talk about the different sizes and shapes of various cereal boxes or fruits nearby. Help your preschooler expand his or her knowledge and vocabulary by also modeling this language. Use an "adult" word to describe something, such as mentioning that you will help your child with his abrasion when he falls down and gets hurt.
Last but not least, don't forget to focus on text comprehension. When reading a story, ask your child questions, about what happened first, second, and third. Also, read her favorite story over and over again. Children use memory skills to recall events which have previously been read about or have already happened.
There is evidence to suggest that without exposure to early literacy activities adults have a difficult time developing the literacy skills they need to be successful at work, at home, and in the community.
Help your child develop school-readiness skills and start his or her school career out on the right track. You will be happy you did!
Have you ever wondered about SDC Preschool Programs?
SDC programs implement various teaching methodologies, strategies and a variety of curriculum programs and materials to assist the students in developing age appropriate skills. There are multiple classrooms, and while they share a main thread of values and goals, each classroom may run a little different, based on the needs of the students in each class.
Classroom instruction is based on each child’s individual needs, developmental stages, and the California Department of Education’s Preschool Learning Foundations.
These Foundations provide the child development field with research-based competencies that we can expect most children to exhibit in a quality program as they complete their first or second year of preschool. All these tools together assist in planning our instruction.
SDC teachers assess the students in a variety of ways. We are observing and collecting work samples and data in an ongoing manner, as well as using an assessment tool called the Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP). The DRDP is an assessment tool developed by the state of California to display the progress of preschool programs to see where overall growth is being made. The DRDP touches on almost all major areas of child development. It gives us the ability to track our student’s growth and easily see where a student is having difficulty, which in return helps us plan accordingly.
Last but not least, SDC preschool teachers want all their preschoolers to have fun! Preschool is a time of exploring and learning new things! If a student leaves the program having developed a love for learning, then they know they have accomplished success!