Early Childhood Special Education
Programs and Services
Seattle Public Schools offers special education services for children age 3-5 determined eligible with a disability that impacts educational progress and who are in need of specially designed instruction. Services are provided in communication, motor, adaptive, social and/or cognitive development. Specialized services are available to children who are deaf/hard-of-hearing, children with autism and children with assistant technology or nursing needs.
Birth to Three and Child Find Services
Birth to Three: Birth-to-Three Early Intervention Services are administered by developmental centers serving the Seattle area. Please contact the Within Reach Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588 to refer a child for a screening or to learn more about accessing Birth-to-Three Early Intervention services.
Child Find Screening and Referral If you are concerned for a preschooler with a possible delay in development, please contact us. Learn more about Child Find
Other Preschool Students For questions regarding enrolling your typically developing preschooler in our program, please contact the preschool in your neighborhood. Read more about preschool at Seattle Public Schools.
Families Experiencing Homelessness If your family is living in a temporary situation, you may contact our McKinney-Vento Program at 206-252-0660. Read more about McKinney-Vento
Programs and Services
Our programs are designed to offer a continuum of services in an effort to meet a variety of student developmental needs. The following continuum of programs and services are offered:
Therapy Services Only
Students receiving therapy only services can access Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) in communication, motor, auditory, or vision skills at the service provider location. Services are delivered individually or small groups in a local school.
Itinerant Teacher Services
Students receiving Itinerant Services have access to Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) addressing mild functional and pre-academic needs 1-2 times per week, in the context of their regular early childhood preschool program. Seattle Public Schools offers itinerant special education services in the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) and Head Start classrooms, as well as in community preschool and childcare programs offered within SPS school buildings.
Seattle Preschool Program Plus (SPP Plus)
Students with IEPs participating in Seattle Preschool Program Plus (SPP Plus) receive daily specially designed instruction (SDI) addressing mild to moderate functional and pre-academic needs within the context of a regular early childhood or general education preschool setting.
Students are provided opportunities to participate in high-quality early learning environments with general education curriculum through specially designed instruction at their present level of performance. Instructional content varies based on each student’s IEP. Classes include up to 18 students, 5-7 of whom may receive services under an IEP.
SPP Plus operates Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays for a 6 hour and 30-minute school day, with 2-hour early dismissal on Wednesdays only. SPP Plus programs follow the school’s elementary bell schedule. Students must be 3 years old to participate and students who are 4 years old are prioritized for placement in SPP Plus.
Students participating in Developmental Preschool receive daily specially designed instruction (SDI) addressing intensive functional and pre-academic needs within the context of a structured, small-group special education setting.
Students are provided opportunities to participate in high-quality early learning environments with general education curriculum through specially designed instruction at their present level of performance. Instructional content varies based on each student’s IEP. Classes include up to 10 students with IEPs and up to 4 typically developing peer models.
Developmental Preschool operates Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, offering morning and afternoon sessions that are 2 hours and 40 minutes.
Medically Fragile Preschool
Students participating in Medically Fragile Preschool receive daily specially designed instruction (SDI) addressing intensive functional, pre-academic, and medical care needs within the context of a structured, small-group special education setting.
Students are provided opportunities to participate in high-quality early learning environments with general education curriculum through specially designed instruction at their present level of performance. Instructional content varies based on each student’s IEP. Classes include up to 6 students with IEPs and up to 4 typically developing peer models.
Medically Fragile Preschool operates Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, offering sessions that are 2 hours and 40 minutes.
Preschool Continuum of Intensive Services (P.C.I.S.)
The Preschool Continuum of Intensive Services (PCIS) are services for students participating in Developmental Preschool or Seattle Preschool Program Plus (SPP Plus). PCIS is for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (or in process of evaluation for suspected Autism Spectrum Disorder) who need more intensive instruction to make progress on IEP goals. The goal of PCIS services is to improve student progress in and access to preschool.
PCIS services may include added service minutes for intensive instruction using evidence-based strategies for young children with Autism. Intensive services are provided individually or in small groups. IEP teams determine need for PCIS services and supports after evaluating the student’s progress in preschool.
Experimental Education Unit (EEU)
Seattle Public Schools contracts with the Experimental Education Unit (EEU) at University of Washington for a limited number of special education slots to provide SPP Plus Preschool and Kindergarten Special Education Services.
Preschool at EEU
Who is eligible to apply for EEU?
- Seattle Public Schools preschool students who are at least 3 years old by May 31 and
- Have or will have a completed Individualized Education Program (IEP) by May 31.
EEU seats are designated for students requiring a special education program placement in Developmental Preschool or SPP Plus, per their IEP.
Enrollment in EEU preschool is determined by lottery. All applications received by May 31 are accepted, however priority is given to applications received during Open Enrollment (during the month of February, for priority consideration based on tiebreakers).
To Apply for EEU Preschool:
- Enroll in Seattle Public Schools. Preschool families must complete SPS enrollment to be eligible for open enrollment
- Complete an EEU Preschool Choice Form
- For preschool EEU assignment, priority will be granted to students with current IEPs.
- Families of students assigned to SPP Plus Preschool at the EEU are responsible for any tuition required. Refer to the SPP tuition calculator for detailed information.
- On-time Open Enrollment applications are accepted February 1-28. School choice applications are accepted through May 31.
Kindergarten at EEU
Students who turn five years old and who have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) by August 31 that requires extended resource, focus or distinct special education services may be eligible to apply for EEU kindergarten.
To apply for EEU kindergarten:
- Enroll in Seattle Public Schools. Families must complete SPS enrollment first.
- Complete the General School Choice form. Families must first be registered with Seattle Public Schools before participating in school choice.
Please send the signed form to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Priority is given to applications received during open enrollment (by the last day of February).
Notification to families of enrollment at the EEU kindergarten will be communicated in April.