What is the purpose of this program?
The Smithfield School Department developed this integrated preschool program because we believe that children learn best in a natural setting that includes children of all abilities. It is designed to provide children with the experiences, opportunities, and readiness skills that will allow them to succeed in kindergarten. While recognizing challenges and working to enhance the development of the whole child, the primary focus is on self-management, social-emotional and academic readiness skills. Family involvement will be encouraged throughout the preschool year. This can include, but is not limited to, parent helpers, parent-teacher conferences, open houses, telephone conversations, and progress reports.
What is integration?
Integration can be referred to as the process of including children with special education supports in a program with their peers without special needs. Children in need of special education supports usually require adaptations to a preschool curriculum and to the classroom environment. Research has found that all children benefit from being placed in the “least restrictive environment” – one that encourages the greatest degree of independence for each child’s abilities and promotes a self-help method of learning.
An integrated classroom:
recognizes that all children learn at different rates
provides age-appropriate classroom settings to challenge all children and frustrate none
highlights strengths of learners without focusing on weaknesses
provides accommodations as necessary to enhance learning
encourages social interactions during and after school with all peers
provides opportunity for family participation within the classroom