Students enrolled in First Step classrooms attend class sessions four days per week for 2.5 hours each day. Morning and afternoon classes are offered on the following schedule:
- Morning sessions are held from 8:20 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
- Afternoon sessions are held from 11:50 a.m. to 2:20 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
First Step Preschool is designed to meet the needs of young children, ages three through five, in an integrated setting. Our classrooms are staffed with highly-qualified Early Childhood Intervention Specialists and instructional assistants. Both children with special needs and typically developing children are provided high-quality educational services targeted to individual strengths, needs and interests.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that assures children with disabilities a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). First Step Preschool provides a continuum of services in the child’s least restrictive environment. The following explains some of the educational environments in which First Step students may receive instruction based upon their individual strengths and needs determined during the evaluation and IEP process.
- Center-Based Preschool Classroom: (1) Some First Step center-based classrooms accommodate a classroom ratio of eight children who are identified as preschoolers with a disability and four typically developing peer models per class. (2) Other First Step center-based classrooms accommodate a classroom ratio of eight children who are identified as preschoolers with a disability, and eight typically developing peer models per class.
- Co-Teaching Classrooms: The classroom instruction is delivered collaboratively by the Early Childhood Intervention Specialist and the Preschool Teacher in one of Pleasantview’s daycare classrooms (3 year old room, 4/5 year old room). There are up to eight children identified with special needs that receive educational services alongside typically developing peers in a larger social setting similar to a traditional inclusive classroom found in kindergarten and beyond.
- Itinerant Services: Our Itinerant based program is designed to assist identified preschoolers with disabilities in their home, local preschools and/or daycares. This placement option entitles students to a minimum of 4 hours/month of services and may include speech therapy. Your child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) outlines the goals/objectives to be worked on, location and type of services. The itinerant teacher provides feedback and encouragement to the parent/caregiver as well as suggestions and modeling alternative teaching techniques. This option is available for students who do not need the center-based program.
Speech Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Physical Therapy are just a few of the services provided to children who qualify for these services as part of their Individual Education Program (IEP). The majority of these services are delivered within the classroom setting.