When planning activities and lessons, teachers must be clear about each activity’s learning objective for all the children and the IEP objective for individual children. The IEP objective will specify what modifications and adaptations are necessary in order for the student to participate fully in the learning objective.
As the school year starts, many ECSE teachers are considering what to teach this year. IEP objectives? Locally mandated curriculum? And where does the Virginia Foundation Blocks for Early Learning fit in? While ECSE teachers are responsible for Implementing Individualized Education Programs, many school divisions are also implementing commercially-developed preschool curricula. Further, Virginia’s Foundation Blocks for Early Learning tell preschool teachers what young children should be learning. So, how does it all fit together? What exactly is a teacher to do?
Recommended practices in early childhood education and early childhood special education support the integration of effective special education practices into developmentally appropriate learning environments (Grisham-Brown, Hemmeter, & Pretti-Frontczak, 2005). This means that teachers are responsible for ensuring that IEP objectives are addressed throughout the day while also using Virginia’s Foundation Blocks for Early Learning as a guiding document for what all children should be learning. When planning activities and lessons, teachers must be clear about each activity’s learning objective for all the children and the IEP objective for individual children. The IEP objective will specify what modifications and adaptations are necessary in order for the student to participate fully in the learning objective. As noted by Grisham-Brown, et al., (2005), “being able to address both learning objectives and IEP objectives at the same time requires careful planning such as identifying the instructional strategies that will be used, the materials that will be needed, and the assignment of adults to different tasks or for student support” (p. 202). (Note: See below for an upcoming learning opportunity and State Conferences for November 1 & 2 Early Childhood Symposium)
1. Embed learning opportunities into classroom routines and daily activities. Embedding provides opportunities for children to learn skills in a meaningful environment and through engaging activities throughout the day while also encouraging generalization.
Additional resources: http:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zHY44H4RDA
2. Structure activities so that all children can participate– teachers can manipulate the environment, adapt materials, and use technology in order to ensure involvement.
Additional resources: http://journal.naeyc.org/btj/200305/playmodifications_sandall_1.pdf
To assist teachers in linking early learning standards as they relate to the IEP, see the link below for the Big Idea Toolkit developed by Kristie Pretti-Frontczak and colleagues (2005). The toolkit reminds us about the key concepts that are important for all children to learn and, while developed specific to Ohio learning standards, can easily be applied to Virginia’s Foundation Blocks for Early Learning. http://fp.dl.kent.edu/ecis/Toolkit.htm.
T–TAC ODU Library Resources (visit http://ttac.odu.edu/index.php)
1. Blended Practices for Teaching Young Children in Inclusive Settings by Jennifer Grisham-Brown, Mary Louise Hemmeter, & Krisite Pretti-Frontczak (2005)
2. Building Blocks for Teaching Preschoolers with Special Needs by Susan Sandall and Ilene Schwartz (2008)
Grisham-Brown, J., Hemmeter, M.L., & Pretti-Frontczak, K. (2005). Blended practices for teaching young children in inclusive settings. Baltimore: Brookes Publishing Co.
Pretti-Frontczak, K., Jackson, S., McKeen, L., Schuck, E., & Stackhouse, J. (2005). Big Idea Toolkit. Kent State University. Retrieved July 9, 2010 from http://fp.dl.kent.edu/ecis/Toolkit.htm