Early Identification and Interventions
Dufferin-Peel's committment to the benefits of early identification and interventions on student achievement and well-being are demonstrated in a variety of ways.
In January 2010, the Ministry of Education announced that school sites across Ontario would begin to offer full-day learning for four- and five-year-olds. Through instruction and play-based learning, children will develop socially and emotionally through interaction with their peers and the adults who teach and guide them. They will also develop their capacity in language and mathematics, and engage in healthy physical activities and the arts.
As part of the full-day program, certified teachers and designated early childhood educators will work together to help young students learn and grow during the regular school day. Families can also choose to register their children for optional childcare programs held before and after the regular school day. In September 2012, 49% of all schools in Ontario will offer Full-Day Kindergarten. Full implementation will be achieved by 2015.
Further information on Dufferin-Peel FDK programs can be accessed by clicking on this link: Full-Day Kindergarten.
In recognition of this unique opportunity to renew our commitment to earlier identification and intervention on behalf of our youngest learners, Dufferin-Peel Program and Special Education & Support Services staff will continue to collaborate on plans to support school staff including professional development opportunities and developing partnerships with community early learning experts to ensure that together we offer a coherent development and learning experience from 0 to 6 years and beyond. Early intervention strategies for diverse learning needs may include:
Dufferin-Peel has policies and procedures in place beginning with linkages to the Infant Hearing Program, Blind Low Vision Early Intervention Program and the Pre-school Program for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Children in Peel which is operated by the board. Transitions exist for pre-school to school for students with needs in the areas of physical/medical, intellectual, vision, communication and deaf/hard of hearing and/or multiple needs.
In addition, there are guidelines for the transition of students with speech and language needs from Halton-Peel Preschool Speech and Languages Services and Wee-Talk Preschool Speech and Language Services for Dufferin County.
Connections are made to facilities such as Erinoak and Bloorview McMillan Children’s Centre through Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) and designated board staff.
Early Learning is supported through collaborative relationships in Peel and Dufferin with neighbourhood, preschool and family and services focused on special needs. Initiatives include the Peel Children and Youth Initiative including Success by Six and Early Years.
In Dufferin-Peel, parents may be made aware of the entry transition process for students with special needs into either Junior Kindergarten, Senior Kindergarten, or Grade One through a variety of avenues; either through community agency support personnel or the Board-level Parent Information Night for Students entering JK, SK or Gr 1 with High Needs. The purpose of the transition process is to formulate and initiate a successful school entry plan for children with special needs. Dufferin-Peel transition practices are reflective of those articulated in the Ministry document Planning Entry to School: A Resource Guide.
The form, Information Regarding Special Needs of Incoming Students, is distributed to licensed child care providers through community agency support personnel which may generate a home/daycare visit by Board personnel. Alternatively parents may complete the Information Regarding Special Needs of Incoming Students form during the registration process at their home school.
Staggered entry allows for both an initial visit and completion of a Partners in Learning Questionnaire. Program differentiation is initiated if needed. A continuum of assessment begins which includes on-going observation and record keeping with both the administration and consistent collection of literacy assessments.
A number of schools are offering Young Minds At Play, an evidence-based early intervention program for young children who show evidence of early school adjustment difficulties. The program seeks to increase children’s positive response to learning using expressive play. Trained paraprofessionals (ERWs) provide direct services through school psychology staff.
All of these early learning initiatives will align with the Catholic Board Learning Plan (CBLP). Dufferin-Peel will build on these initiatives to systematically support the Continuous Assessment Process, described in the Ministry’s draft Learning for All, 2011.