Research suggests that combining special needs children with age appropriate typically developing peers has important implications for both groups of children. All students learn acceptance and sensitivity as well as positive social interactions and play behavior. These students learn to work and play together in a school community that reflects the real world and supports the efforts of IDEA 2004.
Our program is designed to serve Beverly children ages three to five. Students progress at their own pace and achieve success on an individual level. Creativity, natural curiosity, and cultural awareness are emphasized throughout the curriculum. The curriculum is theme-based on age appropriate topics. Three to four weeks are dedicated to each theme so that the children are immersed in the many aspects of each unit. The curriculum is aligned with the preschool guidelines generated by the MA. Dept. of Secondary and Elementary Education and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
Speech and Language, Occupational Therapy, and Physical Therapy are integrated into the classroom curriculum. Highly qualified therapists and teachers work to create a program that enriches as well as remediate skills for all children. Students on IEP’s are provided additional services as deemed appropriate for each individual child.
We currently offer four models of preschool education.
- Integrated Preschool – Typically developing peers are educated alongside special needs students in an inclusion model. Students attend school four days per week for morning or afternoon sessions.
- Integrated-Intensive Preschool – Typically developing peers are educated alongside students with some significant communication and social challenges. Students may have a diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum, developmental delays, or communication delays. The class is five days per week for five hours for our special needs students and five days per week for three hours for our peers. Special needs students arrive at 8am and are provided individualized instruction prior to peers arriving at 10am. Student teacher ratios are small and the principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis are embedded in the instruction. Special needs students and their families participate in home-school services and some individual discrete trials as part of their program.
- Intensive Preschool – This model is designed for students with significant social, communication and cognitive deficits. Students in this may have diagnoses of Autism, communication, social or global delays. This is a self-contained program with a low student-teacher ratio. Individual programs are based on the principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis. Home service training is provided to families to merge the skills taught in the classroom into the child’s home life. Opportunities are available for inclusion as the child masters developmental skills that allow for generalization in a larger group setting.
- Related Services – Students who are eligible for special education and related therapies are identified through the IEP process receive individual or small group therapy sessions. Therapies are determined on an individual basis and may include individual or small group therapy sessions. Goals and benchmarks focus on remediation of delays and weaknesses.
Screenings are conducted each year for children ages three to five in September, December, and March. The (ESI) Early Screening Inventory (revised edition) is given at that time, and any parent interested in enrolling their child in preschool as a typical peer or any parent who may have concerns about their child’s development are encouraged to participate. As part of the Community Partnership, the Beverly Public Schools meets regularly with Early Intervention and Head Start agencies to ensure a smooth transition into our programs and prompt evaluations and screening as deemed necessary. Results of the screening are shared with parents and referrals to special education are made when appropriate. Dates and times of the screening will be advertised in the local newspapers and local cable station.
Please call Stephanie at Beverly Public Schools 978-921-6100 ext. 752 for information on upcoming screenings.