The purpose of this course is to enable children ages 3 to 5 years with disabilities to gain knowledge/skills in the areas of curriculum and learning, independent functioning, social and emotional development, and communication in preparation for kindergarten. Specific course content must include annual goals identified in the child’s individual education plan (IEP).
Curriculum and Learning
Cognition involves receiving, processing, and organizing information perceived through the senses and using the information appropriately. Play is the primary means through which young children build their cognitive abilities. Play should reflect the developmental level of children and be facilitated by the adults around them. Cognitive skills provide the foundation for developing academic skills.
This section addresses children’s attitudes and dispositions toward learning, rather than specific content knowledge. Children’s approaches to learning are highly dependent on the quality and frequency of interactions with supportive adults.
Approaches to Learning
- Actively engage with peers and adults, materials, objects, and activities using specialized equipment or assistive technology, as needed.
- Sustain attention for brief periods and find help when needed.
- Use appropriate verbal, visual, or physical responses to demonstrate mastery of skills.
- Respond to play, social interactions, and communicative exchanges.
- Initiate play, social interactions, and communicative exchanges.
- Plan, carry out, and reflect upon an activity using verbal or alternate means of communication.
- Use alternate solutions to complete a task, when necessary
- Attain, maintain and generalize necessary skills with practice and support.
Cognitive Development and General Knowledge
- Develop mathematical thinking skills by using concrete representations and hands-on sensory activities.
9.01. Demonstrate beginning ability to compare and contrast objects and actions.
9.02. Demonstrate interest in mathematical problem solving, such as playing with shapes and number puzzles, and noticing when someone is missing from circle time.
9.03. Engage in activities that involve measurement, such as using a shoelace or paper clip to measure length.
9.04. Recognize some geometric shapes.
9.05. Show beginning understanding of spatial relationships and position words.
9.06. Identify numbers and count objects with one-to-one correspondence to 10.
9.07. Sort objects into groups by one characteristic.
9.08. Demonstrate understanding of one-to-one correspondence.
9.09. Show understanding by participating in the comparison of quantities, such as by identifying which set has more/less and which set is larger/smaller.
9.010. Show understanding of how to count and construct sets, such as by counting using one-to-one correspondence and putting objects together in sets.
- Develop scientific thinking skills, such as observing and asking questions, using tools for investigation, and comparing objects and living things.
10.01 Begin to compare objects, such as by noticing that some children have the same color clothing or blocks are big and little.
10.02 Begin to use simple tools for observing and investigating, such as magnifying glass, magnet, or scales for weight.
10.03 Use senses to collect information through observation and exploration.
10.04 Demonstrate the use of simple tools and equipment for investigating.
10.05 Examine objects and make comparisons by telling how they are the same or different.
10.06 Explore the physical properties of objects/matter and living things, such as heavy versus light, melting ice, tastes—sweet/salt/bitter, or making gelatin.
10.07 Explore growth and change of living things, such as caterpillars become butterflies and seed becomes a plant.
10.08 Identify the properties of living and non-living things, such as saying that a cat moves but a rock does not, or a dog eats, but a ball does not.
10.09 Identify and explore the five senses and each of their functions.
10.010 Explore and begin to recognize changes in the outdoor environment, such as weather.
10.011 Demonstrate environmental awareness and responsibilities, such as reduce, reuse, and recycle.
- Develop social studies skills, such as recognizing and understanding individual development; people, places and environment; social roles and jobs; and civic ideals and practices.
11.01 Begin to recognize and appreciate similarities and differences in people.
11.02 Begin to understand family characteristics, roles, and functions.
11.03 Follows class and school rules consistently.
11.04 Demonstrate awareness of their class, school, and home environment.
11.05 Show awareness of social roles and jobs that people do.
11.06 Demonstrate an awareness of geographic thinking, such as looking at simple maps and diagrams, playing games that involve directionality, or noticing landmarks within a neighborhood.
11.07 Show awareness of technology in the world, such as using a digital camera to take pictures, talking about how food gets to the cafeteria, and recording sounds into a digital recorder.
11.08 Begin to understand and take on leadership roles.
- Develop creative expression through the areas of visual arts, music, creative movement and dance, and dramatic play.
12.01 Explore visual arts, music, creative movement, dance, and dramatic play.
12.02 Create visual arts, music, creative movement, dance, and dramatic play to communicate an idea.
12.03 Discuss and respond to the feelings caused by visual arts, music, creative movement, dance, and dramatic play.
Use hands-on, multisensory activities, and assistive technology to increase interactions with literacy. Please see the communication section for listening and understanding skills.
- Develop emergent literacy skills that include the knowledge, understanding, and skills that form the basis for later reading and writing.
13.01 Show an appreciation and enjoyment of reading.
13.02 Demonstrate beginning phonological awareness, such as identifying same or different environmental sounds, playing rhyming games during circle time, and singing songs that leave out a sound (B-I-N-G-O).
13.03 Begins to demonstrate recognition of letters and symbols such as picking out an ‘A’, saying their name begins with a ‘T’, that is a number 2.
13.04 Demonstrate comprehension and respond to stories, such as using pictures to describe actions and what comes next in a familiar story.
13.05 Show motivation for reading by requesting that a book be read or picking up a book and looking at a picture.
13.06 Show phonological awareness, such as placing one block for one word spoken by the teacher, singing poems or nursery rhymes; generate rhyming words, and recognizing the initial sounds in words.
13.07 Show alphabetic knowledge by recognizing at least ten letters and showing understanding that letters have meaning (the letters in my name).
13.08 Demonstrate comprehension of text read aloud, such as by answering questions about the story, predicting when might happen next, and proposing a new title.
13.09 Use scribbles, marks, and drawings to convey messages.
13.010 Begin to use play, pictures, and writing to express ideas.
13.011 Show beginning writing skills by making letter-like shapes and scribbles to write.
13.012 Use scribbling, letter-like shapes, and letters that are clearly different from drawing to represent thoughts and ideas.
13.013 Show motivation to engage in written expression, such as pretending to write a shopping list, writing name, and labeling belongings.
13.014 Demonstrate ability to write letters.
13.015 Demonstrate knowledge of purposes, functions, and structure of written composition, such as dictating a story, writing a plan, knowing a letter starts with “Dear”, and having a clear beginning and ending of story.
Physical development and overall good health is the foundation of every aspect of child development and learning. The rapid growth for prekindergarten children that takes place during this period involves the development of strength, balance, and coordination.
Children’s needs for physical support and intervention vary according to their specific motor delays and disabilities, with the ultimate goal being that the child can move as independently as possible in the environment. Physical support includes positioning and handling, adaptive equipment and tools, and special furniture.
Special tools, equipment, adaptations, and modifications may be necessary to ensure access and participation, such as adaptive writing tools, adaptive tricycles, use of computers, adaptations to clothing, and task analysis cards.
Gross Motor Development
- Demonstrate increasing motor control and balance.
- Demonstrate the ability to combine movements for gross motor skills through free play activities and structured, planned activities, such as climbing a ladder or walking down stairs.
- Navigate the school environment, such as walking to the playground and cafeteria and getting on and off the bus.
Fine Motor Development
- Demonstrate increasing control of small motor muscles to perform simple tasks.
- Show beginning control of writing by using various drawing and art tools with increasing coordination.
- Use eye-hand coordination to perform fine motor tasks, such as stringing beads, completing puzzles, using pegboards.
Self-Help and Health
- Actively participate in self-care, basic health, and safety routines, such as toileting, hand washing, dressing, and classroom routines.
- Demonstrate the ability to follow self-care, basic health, and safety routines with increasing independence, such as making healthy food choices.
- Help carry out classroom routines, such as helping pass out snacks, holding the door, and helping clean-up.
Social and Emotional
Social and emotional readiness is critical to a child’s successful kindergarten transition, early school success, and later well being. Through relationships and healthy attachments, young children can develop the capacity to express what they are thinking, feeling, and learning.
For children with social and emotional delays, instructional strategies may include frequent reinforcement, facilitated play, adult and peer modeling, social stories, and positive behavior support plans. Collaboration among teacher, family, and other educational providers is essential for supporting social, emotional, and behavioral growth.
- Begin to use materials with increasing care and safety.
- Adapt to transitions in the class schedule with support.
- Follow simple rules and routines in the class schedule with support.
- Show developing ability to solve social problems with support from familiar adults.
- Use materials with increasing care and safety.
- Adapt to transitions in the class schedule with increasing independence.
- Follow rules, expectations, and familiar routines, with teacher support and multiple experiences over time.
- Demonstrate growing autonomy and independence, indicated by increasing self-care and willing participation in daily routines, when given a consistent and predictable environment.
- Begin to recognize, then internally manage and regulate the expression of emotions both positive and negative, with teacher support and multiple experiences over time.
Relationships (Self, Peer, Adult)
- Demonstrates positive relationships and interacts comfortably with familiar adults.
- Interact with and develop positive relationships with peers.
- Join in group activities and experiences in the early learning environment.
- Show care and concern for others.
- Develop special friendships.
- Show increasing confidence in own abilities, such as “I did it!” and “Watch me!”
Social Problem Solving
- Use a problem solving approach, such as turn taking, sharing, and conflict resolution with fading prompts from familiar adults.
- Develop an initial understanding of bullying, with support from familiar adults.
Language and communication are critical to children’s ability to learn, work, and play with others. Children communicate in a variety of ways, including eye gaze, gestures, sounds, and words. Children learn the meaning of language through facial expressions, gestures, pictures, and words. It is imperative that children of all ability levels are exposed to language-rich environments.
Children’s specific needs vary according to their individual delays and disabilities. Alternate strategies are needed when communicating with children who are nonverbal, have language delays, or are English Language Learners (ELL). Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems may be used to facilitate communication including sign language, voice output devices, or a choice board. Interventions may be developed to provide additional support for understanding language (visual supports for sequencing tasks and routines, cue cards, etc). Collaboration among teachers, therapists, and families is essential to ensure that interventions are consistently provided.
- Participates in opportunities for communication, such as circle time, using special or adaptive devices or processes to increase the level of communication or participation.
- Use own communication system, such as alternative/augmentative communication, assistive device or sign language, or alternate means (eye gaze, pointing, choice of objects/pictures) to communicate and acquire information.
Listening and Understanding
- Use joint attention, turn-taking, and imitation (vocal and/or motor) skills.
- Discriminate, recognize, and understand sounds and words, safety commands, and general daily routines, as well as information received through gestures, other nonverbal means, such as tone of voice.
- Follow one- to multi-step directions in sequence with support, such as physical prompting, visual, or auditory cues.
- Demonstrate understanding and recall information and stories by pointing to pictures, physical or verbal imitative behaviors, responding orally, or acting out songs and finger plays.
- Effectively use nonverbal language, such as personal space, eye contact, gestures, and posture.
- Communicate basic wants, needs, and ideas in a variety of situations with familiar adults, such as by reaching, pointing, giving, gestures, sign language, vocalization, one word and words in phrases or sentences.
- Answer different types of questions, such as “wh” questions, yes/no, and open-ended questions.
- Ask different types of questions for different purposes, such as request, inform, or greet.
- Participate effectively in small and large group discussions.
- Use speech or other means of communication that can be understood by adults and peers.
- Show an understanding of words and their meanings, such as retrieving a requested object and pointing to an object.
- Use expanded vocabulary for a variety of purposes, such as describing words, academic content words, and positional words.
- Use joint attention and turn-taking skills when talking with others.
- Use language for a variety of purposes, including greeting, informing, demanding, protesting, and requesting.
- Initiate and participate in conversations with adults and peers.
Sentences and Structure
- Use simple rules of grammar to produce phrases and sentences.
- Use increasingly complex phrases and sentences in conversation.
This course is designed for children ages 3 to 5 years old with disabilities that need intensive, individualized intervention to address the child’s developmental needs and annual goals identified on the IEP.
The expectations of this course are aligned with The Florida Early Learning and Developmental Standards for Four-Year-Olds (adopted by the SBE in 2011), which were a collaboration between Florida’s Office of Early Learning and the Department of Education (DOE). The expectations were also aligned with Florida Early Learning and Developmental Standards for Four-Year-Olds list of benchmarks and standards (2011), as well as Florida Early Learning and Developmental Standards Birth to Four Years (2010). Additional resources included Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs serving Children from Birth through Age 8, Third Edition by Carol Copple and Sue Bredekamp, editors (2009)(NAEYC), Building Blocks for Teaching Preschoolers with Special Needs, Second Edition?By Susan R. Sandall, Ph.D., University of Washington; & Ilene S. Schwartz, Ph.D., University of Washington, and the Division of Early Childhood Recommended Practices (DEC, 2005).
This course is designed to address a wide range of disabilities within the population of prekindergarten children. A child may repeat this course. The particular course requirements that the student should master each year must be specified on an individual basis and relate to the achievement of annual goals on the student’s IEP. Additionally, course requirements may be added or modified based on the needs of the child. The child may use related technology, adaptive tools, and specialized equipment to meet course requirements.
Delivery of this course is setting neutral (Voluntary Prekindergarten—VPK, Headstart, regular, self-contained, or community provider). Instructional activities involving practical applications of course requirements may occur in the home, school, and community setting for the purpose of training, practice, generalization, and maintenance of skills. Sensitivity and understanding of cultural diversity (cultural, language, and family characteristics) is essential when developing working relationships among members of the IEP team, and when delivering services.
Consultation/collaboration with the appropriate multi-disciplinary team members (i.e. therapist, educators, parents, behavior specialist, and community providers) is recommended. A whole-child approach to prekindergarten recognizes that all developmental domains are interrelated. An integrated approach is more effective than attention to one domain in isolation. An integrated therapy approach is recommended. Team members recognize that the child’s outcomes are a shared responsibility across all team members, working with the child and family.
Developmentally appropriate practice is a framework or approach to working with young children utilizing active learning with hands-on activities, choices, and structured play with adult scaffolding. Young children develop and learn at various ages and stages and in particular contexts. Learning environments should be created to match the child’s abilities, provide appropriate developmental tasks, and be responsive to the social and cultural context in which the child lives.