The Developmental Preschool program is part of the Exceptional Student Services Department (ESS). Students enrolled in the program have been assessed that have been assessed and are determined eligible since they meet one of the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) eligibility definitions and there are gaps in childhood development that require specially designed instruction and related services that that will not be remediated without being enrolled in the Developmental Preschool.
We have designed the developmental preschool program to provide the child with specialized instruction based on the assessment and the Individualized Education Program (IEP). Our language rich curriculum and preschool activities promote readiness skills throughout the school day. We provide developmentally appropriate activities based on the Arizona Early Learning Standards and our knowledge of child development support children with exceptional needs to develop kindergarten readiness skills and close the achievement gap.
Our highly qualified certified special education teachers and related service staff (SLP, OT, and PT) have training in early childhood development. The program includes all of the components of a typical preschool classroom. Our staff uses a developmental approach and incorporates art, music, movement, drama, early literacy and early math skills for students from the ages of 2 years 9 months up to kindergarten who are eligible.
During circle time, the teacher introduces the theme and lesson. Children practice communication skills as they express, their thoughts, ideas and feelings. Circle time is an opportunity to talk about the weekly theme which includes literacy and math concepts. The staff utilize books and music as they are the key to developing early readiness skills.
During center time, children have the opportunity to participate in several small group activities that may include sensory exploration, arts and crafts or other theme related activities. Center time promotes social emotional development, language, fine motor skills, and cognitive development. This is a time for staff to focus on the child’s individual goals outlined in the IEP.
Children will participate in facilitated play time. Children are guided to learn appropriate social skills including turn-taking, sharing, cooperation, problem-solving skills and organization and how to participate as positive peer group members.
The children have opportunities using play to participate in areas such as the block center or dramatic play center. The block center offers many opportunities for learning through play! Vocabulary and language are developed and expanded. Children will be able to learn and practice many math skills such as number concept, patterns, relationships, beginning geometry by developing spatial relationships and measurement. When children engage in the dramatic play center they learn how to negotiate roles, agree on topics and cooperate with each other. These social skills are also practiced during snack time. These are social skills they will utilize throughout their lives.
Children will develop large motor skills by playing outside and develop, muscle, strength, coordination, balance, social and communication skills when they use the play structure or other play equipment such as bean bags, balls and scooters.
This program is provided to our MUSD families without a fee. The cost of the program is supported in part by the federal and state Individuals with Disabilities Education (IDEA) grants. MUSD local funds make up the difference in operating the Developmental Preschool program.
If you suspect that your child has some developmental delays the Maricopa Unified School District offers free developmental screenings for children ages 2 years 9 months up to the age of 5 years’ old who reside within the school district boundaries. These delays may be in communication and language, concept development, behavior, physical development vision or hearing. After your child is screened, the assessment team may recommend additional diagnostic evaluations to determine if our child requires special education which cannot be provided in the typical preschool program.
Contact Diana Lopez -Department of Exceptional Student Services
If your child is younger than 2 years 9 months, please contact the Arizona Early Intervention Program (AZEIP) at (602) 539-9960 or (888) 352-4558