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Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)

Children who are 3, 4 and 5 years of age, and who have been identified through formal evaluations as having special education eligibilities may be considered for placement in the Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE). ECSE classrooms are designed to provide early learning experiences to children, at their levels of ability.

The ECSE curriculum reflects both developmentally appropriate activities in the areas of communication, cognition, fine motor, gross motor, self-help and social skills. All students will be actively engaged, following a classroom schedule in rigorous lessons that change to meet the developing needs of the children. The activities are functional and focus on developing skills needed now and in the future. Each classroom will have clearly defined instructional areas for large and small group work, as well as areas dedicated to interacting with household items, blocks, technology, science/sensory experiences and motor activities.

ECSE students have access to all activities available to their non-disabled peers to the greatest extent possible. Such activities include age-appropriate field trips, assemblies, lunch, etc.

Some ECSE students may require a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP). This plan will be developed individually at ARD/IEP meetings, using information from the Functional Behavioral Analysis (FBA). Data will be collected in the classroom and reviewed periodically to determine if changes in the BIP are needed. The ECSE classroom will have classroom rules and structure that include positive behavior supports. Some students will benefit from an individualized reinforcement system that will be developed and implemented, as needed. Teachers and teaching assistants in the ECSE classes will be trained in Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI) and will use the strategies when necessary.

Frequent data collection is an integral component of the ECSE program. Progress on all IEP goals/objectives must be documented regularly. In addition, as required by TEA, all ECSE students will be assessed, using the Early Childhood Outcomes assessment instrument (ECO) upon enrollment into ECSE, at mid-year and in May for as long as the students are in the ECSE program. Before the student exits ECSE, reports of progress must be completed and the results reported to TEA through the Childhood Outcomes Summary Form (COSF) report.

Placement in a ECSE classroom must be determined by an ARD/IEP committee. The individual goals/objectives for each student must focus on the skills needed to prepare for participation in the school program, when age-eligible.