Every Wednesday, I’m part of a team that completes preschool assessments. Whenever I post about the assessments on social media I get questions about assessments, ideas, timing, etc. Today, I’m starting to share those details!
How do children qualify for Preschool Services?
In the state of Ohio, children transition out of Help Me Grow (Birth to Three Program) and into school provided services by their 3rd birthday. In my area, most schools provide those services directly through early childhood education programs that are run by the school district.
To qualify for special needs preschool, children must have one qualifying area of delay that is severe or two areas of moderate delay. Children are referred for evaluation through Help Me Grow or they are a community referral. HMG referrals are always children who are 2 years 8 months to 2 years 11 months. Community referrals are any child ages 3-6. Children often qualify for services and then begin school with us on their third birthday.
What are the service models for your preschool?
Our preschool has regular education classrooms (8 peers, 8 IEP students), special education classrooms (8 IEP students), and itinerant services. We have 13 classrooms in our program. Four of those classrooms are for our Connections program for students who need more support and nine classrooms are half-day programs.
Related service staff are assigned classrooms and all therapy services are push-in. Currently, all of my students receive speech therapy twice per week.
How do you complete assessments?
Every child who is evaluated participates in a play-based assessment. The play-based team includes a psychologist, SLP, OT, intervention specialists, PT, and APE teacher. Two families are evaluated each week. The psychologist completes a home visit prior to the play-based session. The morning of the assessment, two students and their parents come into our school and we conduct assessments a classroom set up for evals. We bring 4 peers from the other classrooms to join the students. We allow them to play for 30 minutes in the classroom, while we facilitate different opportunities to observe and collect data. At this time I use my play-based observation forms (available on TpT and pictured above). Immediately following, we complete individual assessments with the OT, PT, SLP and APE teacher. Immediately following the assessments we complete evaluation team meetings.
What assessments do you give?
My district has developed a criterion-referenced assessment that we use with each student.
We also have a variety of assessments that I use to gather standardized information.
Those assessments include:
We write our evals throughout the week and then hold the IEP meetings 1.5 weeks later (every Monday). I write all initial IEPs and then the caseload is split between three SLPs. With 2 evaluations per week, extras, re-evaluations, and summer evals we completed 100 evaluations last year! It’s busy! What does your evaluation team look like for preschool? Do you have any other questions about the preschool evaluations?
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