Inclusive Practices for Preschool Programs
Preschool refers to the time before a child is old enough to go to kindergarten or elementary school. In Virginia, preschoolers who are eligible for special education and related services are entitled to placement in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) alongside their peers without disabilities with supplementary aids and services. Inclusion in early childhood programs is supported through years of research and reinforced by a strong legal foundation and can set a trajectory for inclusion across the life course.
The resources available in public school systems and communities vary; thus, localities may offer inclusive early childhood services in programs administered by public schools, Head Start, or community-based entities (e.g., community-based preschool or child care). Preschoolers with IEPs may attend and receive their special education services within any of these early childhood programs provided they are of high quality. These videos from Augusta County and Giles County demonstrate successful inclusion of preschoolers.
For other projects depicting inclusion of preschoolers in a variety of contexts, see the VDOE website.