Special Needs Preschool Program
The Snoqualmie Valley School District Developmental Preschool Program is similar to other preschools in that it follows WA Kids Progressions of Development and Learning, and the Washington State Early Learning Guidelines. The Preschool Program is fundamentally different from the other programs, however, since its primary directive is to identify preschool students with disabilities and provide them with the special education services that they need. Special education services are provided through a variety of models.
When students with disabilities are served in the developmental preschool, they receive specialized instruction in a developmentally appropriate preschool classroom. An essential component of this experience is learning side-by-side with typically developing peers who can serve as role models and provide positive peer interactions.
Students enrolled as typically developing peers in this inclusive preschool settings tend to:
- develop meaningful relationships with peers who have disabilities;
- learn leadership and helping skills by modeling appropriate play and communication for their friends with disabilities;
- and, benefit from the same high-quality curriculum and center activities as their disabled peers.
The developmental preschool operates Mondays through Thursdays, with two sessions that run two and a half hours each, in the morning and afternoon.
The District is seeking a limited number of typically developing peer models to participate in the preschool program for the 2019-20 school year.
Selecting the right preschool is not an easy decision for families.
In addition to their own learning, peer models play an important role in the learning of students with disabilities. Once children have had an opportunity to transition into the classroom, peer models are expected to participate in the classroom routine with minimal prompting from staff and should not regularly have behaviors that divert the attention of staff away from the students who need specialized instruction. This program provides a wonderful option where all students learn to value diversity, recognize the gifts in everyone, and lend a hand when needed.
Families should consider if their child is able to:
- independently use the bathroom
- wash and dry their hands
- manage their belongings / hang up coat
- feed self with utensils
- wait patiently for attention (within reason)
- answer yes, no questions
- follow simple directions
- work or play independently for at least five minutes
- demonstrate familiarity with basic classroom supplies
- attend to a short story
- drink from a cup
- wait for turn
- initiate interactions with peers
- share with peers
Also, consider how a child might respond to playing and interacting with students with special needs. All of the preschool classrooms serve students with a range of disabilities that include communication, cognition, physical, social and emotional needs. On occasion, peer models might observe behaviors, emotional outbursts, or medical needs that they would not see in other centers. It is important that the families of peer models are ready to answer the questions their children might have and support inclusive friendships.
Requirements for typically developing peers:
- Must be a resident of Snoqualmie Valley School District and meet the conditions for enrollment
- Must be turning 3 or 4 years old as of 8/31/2019
- Must be potty trained (unless medical conditions are delaying this process)
Requirements for parents of typically developing peers:
- Pay monthly tuition
- Provide transportation to and from school
- Keep all information confidential that pertains to students enrolled in our program
What is the next step?
- First, as a family, decide if applying to be a peer model is right for your child.
- If you want to move ahead with the application process, please follow this link to the application, complete, and mail or drop off to the District Office by February 28th Extended due to snow closures -> now due by April 5th.
- The Early Childhood team will review the applications, and you will be contacted by 03/15/2019 with the team's determination for your child. If it is determined that your child should proceed with the process, further directions will be provided.
- Parents who are not being offered a position in the preschool will be contacted as well. Remember, we have a limited number of openings for peers, and the number of families desiring placement may exceed the number of positions available.
- Families selecting to accept the placement will need to complete the registration paperwork and contract to finalize the enrollment process. They will also need to make their first tuition payment at the District Office by 03/29/2019 Extended due to snow closures -> now due by May 3rd to hold their placement. (This turnaround time is short so that we can contact additional families if needed.)
- Families of Peer Models will be invited to the school’s Meet the Teacher day at the end of August.
Please be certain that the email address you provide is active and checked regularly. This will be our primary means of communication. Deadlines will be enforced regardless of whether or not you checked the email account.
Some Frequently Asked Questions:
Why does a public school provide preschool?
Public schools are required by state and federal law to identify and provide services to students with disabilities beginning on their third birthday. Students with disabilities are entitled to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). Because of FAPE, we are required to provide preschool special education services. Peer models are included in our program as part of our students’ LRE.
Where is the preschool located?
The preschool is operated by Snoqualmie Valley School District. It is located at Snoqualmie Elementary, 39801 SE Park St, Snoqualmie WA 98065.
Who teaches the students?
Each class is taught by certified teacher and a trained teacher assistant. Other related service staff (Speech and Language Pathologist, Occupation Therapist, Psychologist) are in the classrooms according to the need of the students.
Will all students get a spot?
Like other programs, we have limited seats available. Not all students will get a spot. High quality preschool experiences are important for kindergarten readiness so please keep other programs in mind!
What is the cost?
Our peer models pay 10 monthly tuition payments of $285.00. The first payment will be due on 03/29/2019 Extended due to snow closures -> now due by May 3rd, which is applied to September tuition. Subsequent payments will be due the first of every month with the last payment being due on 5/1/19 Extended due to snow closures -> now due by June 1st. Tuition is not prorated for absences, family vacation etc.
Does the district provide transportation?
Although the district is required to transport students with disabilities, transportation is not provided for peer models.
When do the preschoolers attend school?
Our students attend Monday through Thursday as part of our morning or afternoon session. The exact times could vary from year to year, but each session is two and a half hours long. We follow the Snoqualmie Valley School District Kindergarten Calendar.
What if I have more than one child?
There is no priority based on siblings. Families are, however, encouraged to add all preschool eligible students to the potential peer model list at the same time to increase the likelihood that they will be accepted together.
How are Peer Models selected?
Once we know what spots we need filled, the team will review application and observations from the mock preschool session. Communication and social skills will be emphasized. Families will be contacted via phone and asked to commit or decline the spot quickly so that open spots can be offered to other families. At times, consideration will be given for extenuating circumstances or age and gender balance in each preschool class.
What if I want my child to attend as a peer model more than one year?
Once your child attends our program, they will be offered a seat the next year as long as they meet the age requirements and have not begun the kindergarten enrollment process. Peers are not expected to attend our program for more than three years.
What if I don’t want to send my child to kindergarten when they are five?
If your child has been in our program for three years or will be turning five by August 31st (kindergarten eligibility age), they will not be eligible for an additional year of preschool in our program.
How are students assigned to classrooms?
Peer Models will be offered a spot based on the needs of the program. Our classrooms are designated by age, with younger students in the AM and older students in the PM.
How will I know how my child is doing?
Email is the best way to communicate with teachers if you have questions or concerns. Teachers send home newsletters regularly, and parents receive a preschool a checklist once per trimester (November, March and June).
What if my family’s situation changes and I need to change from one session to another?
Sessions are based on age and classroom availability. While a change is possible within the guidelines it is generally unlikely that a change can take place.
How will I know if the preschool is the best place for my child?
To some extent, you will not. Although we are an appropriate placement for virtually all peers, we might not be the best fit for every child. Because we care about our peer models, it is not uncommon for our coordinator to meet with families and talk about the fit of our program for a particular child. Instances include:
- if a child is very bright and gets easily bored, being in a classroom that designs the instruction for students with disabilities might not be where they will be challenged and grow the most.
- if a child copies the behaviors of others, they might benefit from being in a program with typical behaviors.
- if a child is impatient or overbearing with other children, they might benefit from other experiences before attending a program with students who learn differently or are medically / emotionally vulnerable.
- if a child needs strong language models, typical preschools are likely to be a better fit than our program where many of our students are delayed in their communication.
What if my child struggles in preschool?
We recognize that all students this age need time to adjust and have a range of strengths and weaknesses - this is typical. If your child needs support beyond what is typical, we will discuss that with you.
SVSD Developmental Preschool
39801 SE Park ST
Snoqualmie, WA 98065