Would you enroll your child in a preK or K class that...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Caesar753, Aug 15, 2014.

  1. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    ...was half general ed, half special ed, where the expressed purpose of the program is that the general ed kids serve as "role models" to the special ed kids?

    What would be the advantages and disadvantages to this type of program, for either or both groups of students?
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    We have a program like that in my community. I did not choose it for my child, but I know people that seriously considered it. Unfortunately for them, the program was a bit too strict regarding hours. It was run like a public pre-k where students had to be picked up by a bus, arrive on time, be there each day, etc. My friends and I chose a more relaxed, part-time preschool for our kids instead.

    While I do not agree with such practices in schools where academics is the focus, I can understand the benefits for preschoolers. Preschoolers can be mighty self-centered and it was claimed that this preschool really helped children naturally learn empathy and patience.

    For the disabled children the primary advantage that I heard about was the perception of the parents. The disabled students would see their non-disabled counterparts doing things they had not even tried and it would often spur them on. The disabled students' parents would see so much growth that they learned to open up their minds to their children's potentials.
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I guess I feel that this is similar to a class made up of half gifted and half gen ed with the expectation that the gifted students will act as peer tutors for the gen ed kids.

    Not fair to either group of children.

    Preschool children do not need the label of "role model" at this early in their school career.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    We have an inclusive preK in my building but I don't think the expressed purpose is as you stated...it's a beautiful, well run program. Differentiated so the focus is not only on the kids with special needs but so that all kids are welcomed, happy, and learning. I think this program, and really any great preK, functions to socialize children, support their academic, emotional and physical growth, develops 'school readiness' and fosters independence.:thumb:
     
  6. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    This would make more sense than the scenario in the first post.
     
  7. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    My kids will be in that exact program as role models. The kids that come to kindergarten are wonderfully prepared for school and have a much better foundation than any other preschool we get kids from. The kids there with special needs are varied, many are not cognitive disabilities.

    Some advantages:
    The teachers are certified and teach a real curriculum using state standards. The classes are small and have a teaser and an aide, so there is lots of small group instruction. They have a library with a certified librarian-teacher. They have a science lab with a certified science teacher that helps them with science experiments and exposes them to a variety science concepts that match their classroom lessons. There is a speech and physical therapist on site that helps design age appropriate activities for all students.

    My one fear is that some of the kids have some pretty serious behavior issues and I'm not sure what my kids will be exposed to. However, they will be exposed to those behaviors in kindergarten, or at some point, and the preschool has more resources and would have. 1:1 aide if needed (and kindergarten probably wouldn't).
     
  8. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    A friend of mine did. Her child is general ed, and she said the program really helped her child understand that people are different, but all are valued. She said her daughter learned so much about empathy and respect.
     
  9. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I worked in a similar program before my son was born. It was run by Easter Seals and was held in a public school. Close to half of our kiddos had physical disabilities and the other half were children from the community who would be attending the public school for kindergarten. It was incredibly run and all students benefited in many ways. I wouldn't have hesitated enrolling either of my kids in the program.
     
  10. K1teach

    K1teach Companion

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    My son is in a preschool class that is half "typically developing" and half "special needs." It is run by our local school district (and also the district that I work in.) I enrolled him as a typical student but because of a regression in his speech between registration (in January) and school starting (in September), he is considered a "special ed" student. The preschool is run very much like the one that Czacza described. It has a great structure and focus on academics so the students are very ready to enter preschool. The teachers are all certified and most have their masters.
     
  11. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    My daughter will be in a program like this next year as a 3 year old, as she has a label of Developmental delay. I think it's a good program for all. The "role model" part of things is really overblown. The expectation isn't that the general ed kids will be role models. The expectation is that they'll pretty much just be typical 3 year olds. It gives those kids a free preschool experience, and my daughter will be able to be around kids her age with more advanced language skills.
     
  12. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    My mom's district won a bunch of awards and grants for setting up a similar program. The important thing is that teachers have training and support. Also, students must be carefully selected. In the program my mom designed, typical students were selected along with students who were at risk for being identified as needing services in the future (in her state they don't do IEPs that young) and they have se n new referrals to SPED go down in students in these programs. Also, the typical students excell as well. But, the class sizes are very small, each classroom has two teachers and at least one Para, and the teachers are specially trained. I can see how something like this can be poorly executed. I would investigate the program before making a judgement.
     
  13. chitown

    chitown Companion

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    If you're thinking about enrolling your kids in a class like this, I would urge you to either talk to parents who have or have had kids in that particular class, or see if you can go in and observe.
     
  14. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    That is what I taught for 7 years before moving to the HS SPE class. It took a couple of years for people to bite. The first year I had 1 typical peer. The next I had 3. Then we had 7. Now we have 2 preschool classes like that in the county and we have to turn typical peers away!
     
  15. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Now, one thing, to me it did take away from the SPE kids getting more one-on-one. We had to deal with the typical kids bickering and such. It has its pros and cons.
     
  16. sveta4

    sveta4 Rookie

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    I think that saying the kids in general ed serve as role models to the kids in special ed is condescending. kids in special ed can make great role models. It really depends on the child. In NYC they offer inclusion classes at k-12. It's basically 2 teachers, one general ed and one special ed, and a mix of kids in general and special ed. My twin boys are in that kind of kindergarten class, but only one of them has an IEP.
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    To be clear, the "role models" thing is how the program is billed. Those aren't my words.
     
  18. bros

    bros Phenom

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    It seems like an excellent idea - I don't think any such programs were around when I was that age, but then again, I don't think I would've been deemed a... qualified candidate anyway.

    I was 50% or more globally developmentally delayed at the age of 3 - by age 5 I had an 85 verbal IQ and a 69 performance IQ (Now, it is 121 and 97, respectively) and I was rather... aggressive from what I have been told (my mother had many black eyes when I was that age).
     
  19. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    These types of programs are very popular in a lot of NJ school districts. Many started out as preschool handicap classes, but as the number of those increased, most schools now hold lotteries for reg ed students to join as class size allows. My son was Preschool handicap, and even within that designation, there is a wide range of abilities. If the staff are excellent, I would think this is a real positive. I can guarantee that in this age of inclusion, this is not going to be a novel situation for most students as they go from grade to grade.
     
  20. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    The concept is common. Would I enroll a child in the program? It is hard to say, with any school related class or program, the quality of the program does have a lot to do with how it is run and who will be teaching and aiding in the classroom. I've seen excellent Pre-K programs for kids and classes that had teachers who loved the kids but weren't up to the task even though they had the right credentials.
     
  21. lilia123

    lilia123 Companion

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    I worked in a program like this for a couple years. The success of the classroom heavily depends on the training of the teacher. A class where the teacher was trained in special education and was open to special needs students went very well. I think its great for students with developmental delays, speech and language impairments, and higher functioning autism to have these "Role models". I though think for the more severe children especial those with multiple disabilities they did not receive adequate services because of the number of children in the room.
     
  22. Loveslabs

    Loveslabs Companion

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    Both of my children attended preschool and primary school in classes like you describe. The difference is in the numbers. The ratio was one special needs child to every five typical children. At the preschool level the cap was 15 students. At the primary level the cap was 20.

    During first grade there was a boy with autism in my daughter's class. He had a bit of a temper and would throw fits. If he threw a fit he was immediately removed from the room. This boy loved Elmo. I remember my daughter talking about how proud she was of him when he earned a lot of Elmo's during the day. Evidently, he could earn Elmo magnets to use later for a small reward. It just sounded funny when she talked about this boy and his Elmo's!

    Both of my children learned that learning and life are not easy for everyone. They know everyone is different and that some things are easier for some people while others really struggle.
     
  23. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Truthfully, seeing the preK kids in mybuilding walk down the hallway or in assemblies, you'd be hard pressed to identify which sweeties are the special needs children....I'd go observe any program you are considering.
    In the case of your described preK, if the 'typically developing' kids are role models in terms of social skills, play, that's one matter. If they are role models for kids who are violently acting out, that's quite another.:2cents:
     
  24. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Everyone should remember that special needs is a vast designation. You could be talking about kids with no speech, those with physical limitations but bright minds, students who may have been preemies, who simply have slight delays that may be corrected before leaving elementary school. The preconception is that these are all kids with "bad" needs, tons of delays, and unsavory characters that may contaminate the "reg ed kids." I agree that one of the nice things about these classes is the small class size with trained aides that make this a desirable opportunity. Just a view from the cheap seats, but I do know a thing or two about what those classes can look like - I volunteered and worked in those classes, as my intro into education. I don't mean to imply that the members here think this is a bad idea, but it is a concept that lies at the heart of any controversy, IMHO. :whistle:
     
  25. olivecoffee

    olivecoffee Companion

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    My son is in one of these preschool programs for a developmental delay. I absolutely love it, and if my daughter turned 3 before August 31st, I would have enrolled her as a peer.

    This preschool program, in my local district, is run by the district and only teachers who have master's in early childhood and/or special education can teach these classes. We have a big need for it here, so we have two dedicated facilities for early childhood programs and many elementary schools have an early childhood SPED classroom.

    I've interned in these programs and I'll be student teaching one in October. We don't necessarily call the typically developing children "role models," mostly "peers." I feel that all children in the classroom, whether they are special needs or typically developing, receive amazingly differentiated instruction to help them academically. Play is huge, even though the hours are only 3 hours in the AM or PM. Social and self-help skills are the primary focus in our ECSE classrooms.

    There are some instances where it's the typically developing child who is on a behavior plan! Many teachers wouldn't know at a glance who is typically developing and who is not unless the SPED child has an obvious special need, such as Down's syndrome.

    I love these programs and it has done wonders for my boy.
     
  26. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    As a teacher in an inclusion preschool classroom, I have mixed feelings about programs like this. When I first started teaching, our classrooms were made of 50% typical and 50% with an IEP. It was a great model to have typical students modeling appropriate language and behavior, and typical students participated in a full school readiness curriculum and learned about acceptance. Over past years, the regulation that kept us at 50% with IEPs was done away with. This year, I'll have 18 students in my classroom, 17 with IEPs. I'll have 1 typical student. In a classroom with moderate/severe needs. Last year I had 4 typical students. All the preschool classrooms in my district look just like this. While I love what I do, every year I feel like the typical students get the short end of the stick because I am so overwhelmed with students on visual work schedules, frequent gtube feedings, positioning in adaptive seating, etc...

    I know the original poster was talking about something a little different, but I think preschool programs with an inclusion program that promotes typical peer role models should also be able to ensure appropriate learning for those students.
     
  27. olivecoffee

    olivecoffee Companion

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    Yikes, that is a lot! Our district caps ECSE classes at 15. Often times, there are 7-8 special needs and the rest are typically developing. We have two para's in the room to help. There are specialists that come into the room for various reasons. Some SLPs stay for an entire day, so there's always extra help. Sometimes we'll have 4 adults (3 paras, 1 teacher), so I haven't seen it that bad where the typically developing students get the short end of the stick..
     
  28. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Cassie, my two youngest kids did a similar program to what you describe. They were called "peer models" and the special needs students varied in their disabilities and severity. They enjoyed the program from what I remember. I enjoyed the extra attention my kids received because of the extra aides and teachers they had in the classrooms because of the special education students.
     
  29. hatima

    hatima Devotee

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    I teach in a developmental preschool program. The peer models (typically developing) pay a monthly fee. We do not have universal preschool so the classes are not 50/50. The peer models do not count to class totals. A friend of mine had her daughter as a peer model and liked the program. My niece is now a peer model (not in my room). She loves it. She is bright and loves to interact with others. She will turn 5 too late for kinder so we hope to do the program for two years.

    I think the program is a good idea but wish we had universal prek. I like how (when appropriate) related services like speech/physical and occupational therapies are done as a class with the therapists and teacher working together.

    Advantage: promotes diversity. Here the peer models are to have clear speech.
    Disadvantages: $$for peer model since there is not universal prek. Numbers can get high without added para support. Over/under stimualtion for both groups. Peer not an appropriate model or has poor attendance.
     

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