Parent Guide to Preschool Eligibility & Assessment
Who is eligible for preschool?
Children three and four years old must be eligible to enroll in Kentucky’s public school preschool programs. To be eligible, children must meet one of the following criteria:
- 3 or 4 years old and identified to have a developmental delay or disability, OR
- 4 years old by August 1st of the current school year and eligible by family size and income based on Federal Guidelines for 150% poverty level. Call for income amounts for eligibility.
A family whose child qualifies by family size and income must submit at least one of the following forms of information to verify the child’s eligibility for preschool:
· Current pay-stub
· Medical Card
· Current tax return
· SNAP (Food Stamp) eligibility documentation
· KTAP eligibility documentation
Special Education Services
Early educational services can maximize a child’s educational outcomes and enhance success. This becomes even more important when a child has a developmental delay or disability. Early intervention can minimize the effects of the disabling condition, and prevent additional delays. Special education services are available for children who have a developmental delay or disability, age 3 to 21, as established by federal regulations and guidelines (IDEA), and the regulations set forth by the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990.
Preschool Special Needs Services are provided for 3, 4, and 5 year olds who have one or more of the following:
· Developmental Delay – skills are delayed in one or more developmental areas.
· Disability – children diagnosed as needing special services in order to benefit from education due to disability or condition.
Children must meet state and federal criteria to be eligible for preschool special needs services. Eligibility for special needs services is determined through specific evaluation procedures according to state criteria, regulation and guidelines.
Steps for Determining Eligibility
1. Referral: A child can be referred to the school system by a parent, teacher, professional agency, physician, etc. A referral should be made when there is any concern or possibility of delay or disability.
2. Screening: Screening is a brief assessment that takes a snap shot of your child’s development, to determine whether or not further evaluation is needed. During this time you will be included as a member of the assessment team (parents, educators, speech and language pathologists, para educators, and special needs itinerant teachers) to identify your childs skills in the following development areas:
a. Gross / Fine Motor
d. Self Help
e. Social Emotional
f. Vision / Hearing
3. RTI (Response To Intervention): The screening instrument will identify areas of need for further evaluation. In response to those needs, the preschool staff will provide instructional intervention sessions, and collect data to determine your child’s progress with instruction. If you are unable to attend the instruction sessions, intervention strategies and data collection methods will be provided to the parents/ guardians for the child in their natural environment. At the conclusion of the intervention, the child’s progress will be evaluated and reported to the parent(s). At this time, if warranted, the referral process will include an Admissions and Release Committee (ARC) meeting to determine any need for further formal evaluation.
4. Evaluation: The evaluation consists of an assessment across developmental areas or skills, including observation, interview, and direct testing components to determine a child’s skills, educational abilities, and needs. The parent must provide signed consent for the evaluation. Once the consent is obtained, the district has 60 school days to complete the evaluation. The evaluation will be completed through play with your child and will prove to be a fun experience for them. You are a valuable team member in this process as you provide information on their developmental history, observations, and review of records. The following areas will be assessed in the developmental evaluation:
a. Social/Emotional: interaction with peers and adults and the ability to follow directions
b. Adaptive: toileting, dressing, feeding, attending to tasks
c. Gross Motor: large motor movements such as running, jumping, hopping, and skipping
d. Fine Motor: small motor movements such as cutting, drawing, and stringing beads
e. Communication: ability to understand spoken language, expressing wants and needs clearly, and following direction
f. Cognitive: early learning skills such as matching, memory, counting, and naming colors
5. Determining Eligibility: You will meet with others working with your child as a team (including a district representative, special needs itinerant teacher, classroom teacher, and other related service personnel as appropriate, to review evaluation results. The team will determine the child’s strengths, needs, and eligibility for any services. If your child is eligible for special needs services, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is developed by the team to meet his/her individual needs. WIth parental consent, this IEP defines the educational services implemented for your child. If your child is determined NOT eligible for services, our family resource center coordinator will meet with you to determine other options (including private school programming, Headstart services, and other community options available for you and your child.
6. On-Going Assessment: If your child is enrolled in the public preschool program, you will be provided on-going progress on your child’s individual goals and objectives. Your child’s teacher will administer curriculum based assessment, which provides authentic assessment of your child’s developmental progress. The curriculum based assessment results are used to improve children’s leaning and development and to increase program effectiveness.