Typical peer preschool programs

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Caesar753, Aug 12, 2017.

  1. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Aug 12, 2017

    What is your experience with and/or opinion of these programs? Are your feelings as a teacher the same as your feelings as a parent?
     
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  3. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Comrade

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    Aug 13, 2017

    I teach in an inclusive spec ed preschool classroom. We stay at around 60-70% spec ed and the rest are typical peer models. Although, I've had years where we were at 90-95%.

    As a teacher, I see the benefits. I get to pair students with others that have more appropriate social and communication skills and the growth throughout the year is usually amazing. It can also be a struggle though. A lot of my students need 1:1 support for behavior or physical needs. There are days where my time is spent restraining students, managing meltdowns, catching runners, etc... and my typical kids aren't getting the attention and direct interaction and instruction they deserve.

    As a parent, my child is actually in a similar class. I go back and forth on whether I like it for him. I love that he sees differences and is learning empathy and how to be a leader. However, just like in my class, i feel like he doesn't always get the attention I would like, and they aren't able to go as in depth with curriculum because there is such a wide range for differentiation.
     
  4. bella84

    bella84 Enthusiast

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    Aug 13, 2017

    I'm not a parent, and I don't have any experience teaching preschool. However...

    I would like to think that I would want my child in an inclusive preschool classroom, if I were a parent. I say this because, as an elementary teacher, I have the knowledge to be able to teach my child skills and content that they may not address in an inclusive classroom due to the varying levels and differentiation needed in such a class. I can spend time at home pushing my child further than what they might get to in the classroom, assuming they don't get to everything I want for my child. However, what I don't have the ability to do at home is expose my child to the diversity that he/she would experience in the inclusive classroom. I can model empathy and compassion and talk about diversity, but I would think that my child would learn it on a much deeper level if having to practice it in preschool every day. Basically, I think the social skills that can be learned in an inclusive classroom are probably more important for my hypothetical child than the academic skills, especially because I can work on the academic skills at home if I feel it necessary.

    Of course, my opinion could change when/if I'm actually faced with making this decision, but that's where I stand for now, while it's only hypothetical.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 13, 2017

    I taught in a this type of program (with Easter Seals) before my son was born. We had, if I'm remembering correctly--it was over 25 years ago--18 students (half were Easter Seals kids) and 4 teachers. We had a rich program that met the needs of all students. It was a challenge, at times, to think, "How can we make this activity accessible to Anthony?" but it worked. The students with disabilities developed independence and those without accepted that some of their friends had a harder time doing certain things. Our program supervisor was a relentless advocate for the program (which has since ended), and helped students, staff, and parents focus on strengths, not deficits and on similarities, not differences. The three years I spent working there laid the foundation for much of my philosophy today.
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I'm asking because we have decided to enroll our preschooler in such a program as a typical peer. We did the summer program (same school, same teachers) and my kid loved it. My kid is the youngest by a full year, so I worried that the content and expectations may be too high, but it seemed right on par during the summer. I'm hopeful that the full school year will be equally successful. Many of the kids from the summer program will also be in the full year program, which is nice because my kid already knows them.
     
  7. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Aug 14, 2017

    We have a program like this in my area. I have heard from parents of disabled students and typical students. So far all of them have said they like it.

    I like the idea myself. I didn't want a program like this for my children for two different reasons. My first child was exceptionally advanced as a preschooler. I wanted a program that would provide a concentrated, challenging environment where advanced students' needs were put at the forefront. This wasn't a typical preschooler any more than the disabled students were. With my second child I wanted a part-time program and it wasn't available at the center.

    But as a rule, I like the idea. Typical students need to learn socialization, how to be a student, that they aren't the only people in the world, etc. at the preschool level. They can get everything they need from a mixed-needs classroom and the other children will benefit as well.

    As students get older and their needs change, so does my opinion.
     
  8. K1teach

    K1teach Companion

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    Aug 14, 2017

    We have a preschool program like this in the district that I work/live in. I long term subbed there and was impressed. Once my kiddos were of age, they were enrolled. My older son had an IEP for speech and my younger son now attends as a typical peer. I have been super impressed with the program and recommend it to everyone I know. There is almost always a waiting list for the preschool although they've added several classes over the years to accommodate for the waiting list. These teachers are amazing at differentiating to meet the needs of ALL of the kiddos.
     

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