To help school districts understand how to classify preschool students for reporting on Indicator 6, the Office of Special Education created this decision tree.
Expanding Opportunities for Early Childhood Inclusion Initiative
Started in 2005, the Expanding Opportunities Initiative has supported cross-agency teams within participating states to develop and implement State plans with the goal of increasing inclusive opportunities for young children with disabilities in quality early care and education programs and services in their communities. This technical assistance project is supported by four Federal agencies: the Office of Child Care, the Office of Head Start, the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, and the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Mississippi was selected as a participating state in 2011.
Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Guidance
OSEP issued a Dear Colleague letter on February 29, 2012, which reiterated that the least restrictive environment (LRE) requirements apply to the placement of preschool children with disabilities.
CARA's Kit for Preschoolers: Creating Adaptations for Routines and Activities: Created by the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children, CARA's Kit for Preschoolers is designed to support the design of adaptations that promote preschooler participation in everyday routines and activities. The Preschool version helps individuals who provide care and intervention for children ages 3-5 use adaptations to make situations better for particular children, including those with challenging behaviors, disabilities, or other special needs or improve situations for an entire group. Adaptations include making changes to the environment, daily schedule, activities, materials, and requirements and instructions and include the use of assistive technology. [Note: This kit can be purchased from multiple retailers and book sellers.]
DEC & NAEYC. (2009). Early childhood inclusion: A joint position statement of the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Washington, DC: Authors.
Dinnebeil, L., McInerney, W., & Buysse, V. (2011). A guide to itinerant early childhood special education services.Baltimore, MD: Paul H Brookes.
University of Maine-Center for Community Inclusion & Disability Studies (CCIDS) Growing Ideas Tipsheets and Resources for Guiding Early Childhood Practices - Foundations of Inclusive Early Care and Education. Growing ideas: Inclusive early childhood education. Orono, ME: Author.
Additional National Resources
Center for Inclusive Child Care (CICC): The CICC website provides a centralized location for resources supporting inclusive care for children in community settings.
Center on Inclusion and Early Childhood Care & Education (COI): The COI works to promote quality inclusive services to improve the quality of care and education available to all young children and their families.
Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center: The ECTA Center is funded by the Office of Special Education Programs to improve state early intervention and early childhood special education service systems, increase the implementation of effective practices, and enhance the outcomes of these programs for young children and their families. The ECTA Center has compiled a number of resources to support efforts to include young children with disabilities in settings with their typically developing peers.
Financing inclusive services: The following links provide access to planning tools/self-assessments and resources on funding streams, interagency agreements, and collaborative strategies to assist communities in providing inclusive preschool special education services.
Targeted Competencies for Specialists Supporting Inclusion: Florida’s Expanding Opportunities for Early Childhood Inclusion Team created this document detailing the additional competencies, aligned to core early childhood educator competencies, that specialists need to promote child success in inclusive environments. The competencies are in the areas of (a) Health, Safety, and Nutrition, (b) Child Development and Learning, (c) Building Family and Community Relations, (d) Teaching and Learning Environments and Interactions, (e) Curriculum, (f) Observing, Documenting, Screening, and Assessing to Support Young Children and their Families, and (g) Professionalism.
National Professional Development Center on Inclusion (NPDCI): The NPDCI works with states to ensure that early childhood teachers are prepared to educate and care for young children with disabilities in settings with their typically developing peers.
Quality Indicators of Inclusive Early Childhood Programs/Practices: This document contains a compilation of resources for programs that highlight issues to consider, self-assessment tools, and examples of inclusive practices. It was developed by the formerly named National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC).
SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library: The SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library supports the inclusion of young children with disabilities birth–five and their families, in early care and education settings. The SpecialQuest materials and approach, provided at no cost with funding from the Office of Head Start, have been used nationwide and have been shown to create and sustain change.
Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children (TACSEI): The TACSEI creates free products and resources to help decision-makers, caregivers, and service providers apply research-based best practices in the work they do every day to improve the social-emotional outcomes for young children with, or at risk for, delays or disabilities. Most of these products are available to view, download and use.