Frazer Center’s inclusive early education program welcomes the full and meaningful inclusion of children with disabilities and developmental delays. Inclusion is the practice of educating and caring for children with disabilities or delays in the same environment or setting as their typically developing peers. In an inclusive program, children with and without disabilities learn and participate in the same daily activities and routines. Children with delays or disabilities are not just present in the classroom. They are meaningfully engaged with their classmates in learning and play, which often carries over to celebrations and family gatherings away from the Center. They have rewarding, reciprocal friendships with their peers, and nurturing relationships with our teachers. Every child has individualized learning goals, and the support and instruction to work towards those goals.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 17% of children ages 3 to 17 in the United States have one or more developmental disabilities (physical, learning, language, behavior). It is difficult to estimate this number before age 3 since many disabilities are not recognized or diagnosed until children begin missing developmental milestones.
Frazer Center believes the most effective model for inclusion is one that reflects the diversity of our community. Generally around 20% of our program enrollment includes children with diagnosed disabilities or those who do not yet have a diagnosis, but who are receiving therapy and/or diagnostic treatment for developmental delays. We believe this mix allows us to provide the level of support children with disabilities need to fully benefit from an inclusive classroom while also providing a high quality school readiness program for all children.
The percentage of children with disabilities varies by classroom. The percentage is usually lower among infants and young toddlers, and higher among older toddlers and preschoolers, because disabilities like autism are not usually diagnosed until a child is older. The percentage of children with disabilities also varies among classrooms in the same age group. For example, one preschool classroom might have only two children who have extensive support needs, while another classroom will have four children who need accommodations in the classroom, but who are more independent.
The defining features of inclusion—access, participation, and supports—are central to the mission and practices of our Inclusion Program.
What Is Meant by Access, Participation, and Supports?
The Ages and Stages Questionnaire, a screening tool for children’s development, will be conducted on a yearly basis in September. Parents are asked to complete the assessment and return the results to their child’s teacher.
Annual vision and hearing screenings will be available on site through an outside company for our older toddler, preschool, and Pre-K students.
Throughout the school year, teachers collect data and track development through observation-based assessments, using Teaching Strategies Gold (TSG) or Georgia Pre-K Work Sampling (WSO). TSG and WSO are ongoing observational systems for assessing children from birth through kindergarten. The results of these assessments are shared with parents during our biannual parent-teacher conferences.
If it is observed that a child may be exhibiting a developmental delay, we may recommend that you explore the options for additional services to support your child. This may include (but is not limited to) speech therapy, ABA therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, or developmental pediatric or psychological evaluations. Our team will provide recommendations when appropriate, however your healthcare provider or a licensed therapist should be consulted for diagnostic purposes.
Social skills groups are facilitated by our Inclusion Coaches for students in our older toddler, preschool, and pre-k classes. Positive social and emotional development in the early years provides a critical foundation for lifelong development and learning.
Collaboration is a cornerstone of a quality inclusive education. For children who are eligible, an Inclusion Team composed of parents, teachers, therapists, and an inclusion coach is formed to provide additional early intervention support. All team members work together to ensure that the child has a quality learning environment, and an instructional plan that addresses their individual needs. To ensure that parents have more information about their role in the Inclusion Team, parents are given a Parent’s Rights and Responsibilities Agreement form upon enrollment.
Facilitation of an initial Inclusion Team meeting upon enrollment. This meeting is meant to get to know your child’s strengths and developmental needs. The information gathered during this meeting will be used to create individualized learning goals.
Regular communication with therapists to ensure knowledge of a child’s therapeutic goals.
Translation of therapeutic goals to the classroom setting. Our Inclusion Coaches are meant to bridge the gap between what is happening in therapy and integration of those therapeutic goals into the early-learning environment.
Regular time spent in the classroom observing and interacting with the child and teachers. After individualized goals are created, the Inclusion Coaches model effective techniques or adaptations for the teachers that will allow meaningful inclusion and help each child progress with their individualized goals. After modeling, the Inclusion Coach observes the teachers using the same techniques/adaptations, and provides feedback. This process is iterative and will take place throughout the school year.
Frazer Center’s staffing model does not allow for the provision of one-on-one support. If it is determined that a child requires one-on-one support for a significant portion of the day in order to ensure meaningful inclusion or the safety of the child or the other children in the classroom, parents must obtain that support from an outside source.
Frazer Center does not have therapists on staff. However, we do provide private therapy space for “pull-out” services, or adaptations for “push-in” services in the classroom. Outside therapists are welcome and encouraged to provide therapy on site, so we can work together to help each child progress in their development. Inclusion Coaches and classroom teachers will communicate with therapists, so they are knowledgeable about the therapeutic goals and strategies that are in place.
When applicable, our Inclusion Coaches can provide parents with information about therapy companies that currently provide services at Frazer Center.
After completing the online enrollment application, parents will receive an email from an Inclusion Coach, requesting answers to initial screening questions. In addition, parents will be asked to provide the Inclusion Coach with the most recent developmental evaluations and/or reports. This information will be reviewed by the Admission Team.
Once the initial screening information is reviewed, if it is determined that Frazer Center cannot be recommended for a child’s Early Education placement, every effort will be made to provide information and referrals for appropriate services in the community. If, after the initial screening information is reviewed, there is the potential for enrollment in the program, the Inclusion Coach will contact the parents to schedule an in-house observation. This observation provides an opportunity for us to observe and interact with each child individually and in a group setting. The observation typically lasts approximately 45-60 minutes, and will take place in a classroom with children of a similar age. After the in-house observation, the admission team will meet to determine if enrollment in the program is recommended. Parents will be notified within 72 hours of the team’s decision. If it is determined that Frazer Center cannot be recommended for a child’s early childhood placement, every effort will be made to provide information and referrals for appropriate services in the community.