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The Value of An Integrated Preschool

July 8th, 2018

One item that parents of special needs children should be aware of is that by law, 3 to 5-year-old children with documented disabilities are entitled to free preschool special education and needed related services, like speech therapy. It is important to note that a child’s eligibility is determined by an provided by child’s school district.

The value of a preschool that integrates special needs students with their typical peers is many. Samuel L. Odom, Pd.D., Otting Professor of Special Education at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana found that "inclusive settings benefit special-needs kids by providing positive role models and improving socialization and behavior.”  One local preschool option is the ACES Integrated Preschool at Village School, 31 Temple Street, North Haven.  For over twenty years, the ACES Integrated preschool program has serviced children 3 – 5 years of age. 

The program offers an active, supportive learning environment in which special needs children and typical peers learn together through developmentally appropriate theme-based activities and experiences. The curriculum is based on the Preschool Common Core State Standards as well as the Connecticut Early Learning and Development Standards. 

The ACES Integrated Preschool aligns their curriculum with the Connecticut preschool assessment framework which includes goals in the areas of the personal-social framework, physical development, cognition and creative expressions. This is a 10-month program (September – July) with modified sessions during July.  The program day is from 7:30 – 4:30 Monday - Friday.

A key strength of the program is that parents are encouraged to be a part of the preschool experience – to communicate with their child’s teacher and to spend time in the classroom. A parent of a former student recently shared that "my daughter is in the top reading group, has the best handwriting in her class, and knew all of the sight words upon arrival to kindergarten thanks to Village Preschool.” 

Parents are invited to learn more about the integrated preschool program at Village school by contacting Karen Martin at 203-234-7611 or by email, kmartin@aces.org. The Integrated Preschool program is offering two open houses on February 15th and February 28th from 3 pm – 5 pm. Parents can also contact Karen Martin to schedule an appointment to tour the program.    

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