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    The Seattle Preschool Program Plus (SPP Plus)  is a high-quality preschool program offering inclusive education opportunities for students with and without disabilities.  Students attend  five days per week, six hours per day, and follow the school year calendar.  Students engage in a full time, research-based curriculum where specially designed instruction is integrated into the classroom structure by both the Special Education and General Education teachers in an early childhood learning environment.

    Inclusion is the principle that supports the education of children with disabilities alongside their non-disabled peers rather than separately.  Both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Sec.504) require schools and agencies to provide equal education opportunities for children with disabilities.

    In inclusive classrooms, children with special needs take part in the general education curriculum; special education teachers and therapists adapt the curriculum and classroom to meet their individual education needs.  Inclusion means teaching all children together in the same setting, to the maximum extent appropriate.  Inclusive programs celebrate children's similarities as well as their different abilities, cultures, backgrounds and experiences.

    Inclusive early childhood programs that include children with disabilities hold high expectations for all students, and intentionally promote participation in all learning and social activities, facilitated by individualized accommodations; using evidence-based services and supports, classroom teachers work to foster development, friendship with peers and a sense of belonging.

      Three preschool children play around a water table.  The word Inclusion is written to the left of that image.

    Definition of Early Childhood Inclusion

    "Early childhood inclusion embodies the values, policies, and practices that support the right of every infant and young child and his or her family, regardless of ability to participate in a broad range of activities and contexts as full members of families, communities, and society.  The desired results of inclusive experiences for children with and without disabilities and their families include a sense of belonging and membership, positive social relationships and friendships, and development and learning to reach their full potential.  The defining features of inclusion that can be used to identify high quality early childhood programs and services are access, participation, and supports." 

    Our Goals for Children Include:

    • A sense of belonging, positive social relationships, whole child development and academic learning to reach full potential
    • To learn through active involvement with people, materials, events and ideas that are developmentally appropriate
    • To become independent, responsible and confident, so that all children are ready for school and ready for life
    • To learn to plan out their own activities, carry them out, and talk with others about what they have done and learned
    • To gain knowledge and skills in academic, social and physical objectives for development and learning

    Preschoolers doing activities at a round table with chairs with a teacher

    Who is Part of the SPP Plus Inclusion Classroom Team?

    The inclusion team plans ways to provide access, participation and supports so all children can learn as independently as possible.  Inclusion teams meet regularly to collaborate and support students with special needs.

    Team Members Include, But Are Not Limited To:

    • General Education Teachers
    • Special Education Teachers
    • Instructional Assistants
    • Classroom Assistants
    • Related Service Providers
    • Coaches and Specialists
    • Families and Caregivers
    • Administrative Staff
    • Building Leadership
    • District Staff

    An African American Boy In A Wheelchair holds a large bowl with the help of his adult early childhood service provider while his classmate grates cheese into it.

    Benefits of High Quality Inclusive Preschool for Each and Every Child:

    • Research indicates that meaningful inclusion is beneficial to children with and without disabilities across a variety of developmental domains.
    • Children with and without disabilities can make significant developmental and learning progress in inclusive settings.
    • Children with and without disabilities in inclusive early childhood programs also demonstrate stronger social-emotional skills than their peers in separate settings.
    • Meaningful inclusion in high-quality early childhood programs can support children with disabilities in reaching their full potential resulting in broad societal benefits.

    Defining Features of Inclusion

    Access: Providing a wide range of activities and environments for every child by removing physical barriers and offering multiple ways to promote learning and development.

    Participation: Using a range of instructional approaches to promote engagement in play and learning activities, and a sense of belonging for every child.

    Supports: Broader aspects of the system such as professional development, incentives for inclusion, and opportunities for communication and collaboration among families and professionals to assure high quality inclusion.

    Two Preschoolers Sharing An Orange At Lunchtime

    Special Education Services in Seattle Public Schools Early Education Programs

     Head Start Logo to the left of Seattle Public Preschool Logo to the left of rainbow letter blocks that spell out Child Care

    Itinerant Support Services: Special educator and related service staff deliver support in preschool classrooms 1-2 times per week according to individual student need. *These Early Childhood Education Programs may have a tuition component or income-qualifying guidelines.

    Seattle Preschool Program Plus: Two teachers (full-time general educator part-time special educator and) team together to teach all children in a full day early childhood program.   

    Dual Placement: Students are dual placed in both special education and general education half-day programs to receive individualized support services. *These Early Childhood Education Programs may have a tuition component.

    Developmental Preschool: Special Education teachers design classroom activities to meet the individual needs of children in a part day program. * This program is provided by Seattle Public Schools free of charge for students who qualify for Special Education Services.

    The above supports for inclusion offered in Seattle Public Schools early childhood classrooms include Head Start, Seattle Preschool Program (SPP Plus), and SPS SPP or community based program providers. *Community based Early Childhood Education Programs may have a tuition component..

    With each provided support, the goal is to provide special education services that meet the individual needs of children with disabilities in a high-quality program, that include children without disabilities.

    Enrolling In SPP Plus

    If your child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and you are interested in enrolling in SPP Plus, please contact their current case manager for more information on how to apply. 

    References and Resources

    CONNECT:The Center to Mobilize Early Childhood Knowledge. (2012). Policy advisory:The law on inclusive education (Rev. ed.). Chapel Hill:The University of North Carolina, FPG Child Development Institute,Author.

    DEC/NAEYC. (2009). Early childhood inclusion:A joint position statement of the Division of Early Childhood (DEC) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Chapel Hiil:The University of North Carolina, FPG Child Development Institute available as a free download from: Childhood_Inclusion

    Individual with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq.

    US Dept. of Health and Human Services and US Dept. of Education’s Policy Statement on Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs, Full Text, Sept. 14, 2015.

    Seattle Public Schools Early Learning Department. Adapted from the Illinois Board of Education Inclusion Brochure.