The trend in education is to keep children who are developmentally at-risk and/or disabled in regular classrooms by means of new teaching methodologies rather than referring them immediately for special education.
In order to keep at-risk children and children with special needs in regular classrooms, the entire learning environment is being changed. Usually teachers will subgroup students into small working units. Sometimes a physical therapist or an occupational therapist or a speech language pathologist may enter the classroom to work with the teacher and specific children. At-risk students have materials that are modified to meet their individual learning needs requiring individual teacher time and attention. The whole class participates in a process to help all children succeed in their education.
With all of this in mind, regular education and special education have been changing, slowly but surely. The traditional regular classroom that most parents remember no longer exists. It is important for parents to speak to their children about the fact that there may be not only new friends in class, but also special friends. The diversity in regular classrooms has increased dramatically as children with at-risk learning needs or special needs remain in regular classrooms for longer periods of time.*
Circle of Learning was established in 2001 as a developmental preschool to help any two and a half to five year olds be ready for public school. We serve children with a wide variety of disabilities as well as typically developing children when space has been available. Circle of Learning has long recognized that one of the best ways to instruct special needs children is to have them learn with typically developing peers. Our classroom on the University’s Presque Isle campus is an Inclusive Preschool where we will be offering a less restrictive learning environment for special needs children along with a typical preschool program for the faculty and students of UMPI as well as Presque Isle area children. We are offering a morning only session and an all day session with afterschool care until 5pm. For more information or to set up an appointment to enroll your child please contact Lindy Boinske, Family Support Specialist at 493-3055.
* Description of Inclusive Classroom adapted from a 1990 Long Island Press article "Special Education: What's New?"