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The following descriptions are a sample of program offerings. Each spring, specific programs are designed for the following school year based on the needs of the children receiving Early Childhood Special Education services. Thus, specific classroom designs for particular age groups may change from year to year. Our program provides a continuum of service models with our ultimate goal of having our students participate with community peers whenever possible and to provide quality early intervention services so that they can successfully enter our Minnetonka Public Schools kindergarten program when they reach age eligibility.

Birth to Age Three

Early intervention services are available for young children ages birth through age two years and eleven months who meet criteria established by the Minnesota State Department of Education. A service coordinator facilitates service delivery as written in the Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP), developed by parents and service providers.

Services are based on each child’s individual needs and may include assessment and evaluation, early childhood special education, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech/language pathology services, vision and hearing services, assistive technology, autism consultation, parent education, Hennepin or Carver County social services, and public health nursing through Hennepin or Carver County.

Services and support are typically provided in the home, but can also involve other natural environments such as childcare and Early Childhood Family Education settings.

Our birth to age three service providers are trained in and provide early intervention services using the family-guided routines based intervention (FGRBI) model. FGRBI is a systematic approach to embed intervention consistently by all family members and service providers throughout the day rather than in individual, isolated therapy sessions. Routines are functional features of daily living that offer opportunities to teach and practice meaningful skills in settings and situations as they are needed.

By definition, routines occur on a regular basis and are repeated frequently, offering multiple opportunities for teaching and learning. Family-guided routines are predictable activities that match the interests and individual schedules of the child and family. The family guides the selection of appropriate targets and contexts for intervention. Routines which are selected for intervention provide positive learning experiences for both the child and care provider to enhance the ease of use and the potential for growth.

In addition to home based service, a classroom opportunity may also be available to facilitate the transition between home-based and center-based services in the months prior to the child’s third birthday. This classroom typically meets one to two times per week for two hour sessions and is offered as a supplement to home-based services.

Three to Five

Early Childhood Special Education services are available for children from age three to kindergarten entrance who meet criteria established by the Minnesota State Department of Education. Services are based on an Individual Education Plan (IEP) developed by parents and service providers.

Services are based on each child’s individual needs and may include ongoing assessment and evaluation, consultation to parents, direct instruction by an ECSE teacher, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech/language pathology, sessions with a vision and hearing specialist, augmentative communication or assistive technology specialist, autism specialist, parent educator, and health services by licensed school nurses.

Service options for the Three to Five age range may include one or a combination of the following:

  • Consultation to parents and staff at a early childhood setting chosen and funded by the child’s family
  • 1:1 or small group instruction to address communication, social skills instruction, or pre-academic needs
  • Special Education only classroom for children who require small group instruction with low staff to student ratios or who are not yet able to be successful within community early childhood settings
  • Preschool experience through Minnetonka Preschool or Early Childhood Family Education with support within the classroom by special education paraprofessionals and licensed staff. These vary from two day per week to four day per week sessions based on student age and need
  • Four day per week preschool classroom team taught by an ECSE staff and a licensed early childhood teacher from Jr. Explorers program at MCEC
  • Phonology classroom for children with articulation delays
  • Parent education, including an Autism parent group & Hanen Language parent training