"It is the mission of the early childhood programs of the Public Schools of Brookline to provide an inclusive environment where all children from ages three to five can learn social competency, develop cognitive motor and language skills and expand their understanding of themselves and the world in which they live."
As a result of the Brookline Early Education Project research, our program planning and implementation are guided by the following major themes:
PARENTS AS PARTNERS
A principal finding from the Brookline Early Education Project is the importance of parents and teachers working closely together. Parents do an observation prior to the parent-teacher conference in the spring and actively contribute in evaluating the child's progress and establishing goals. Attention is given to the child's learning experiences outside of school. During the course of the year parents become informed, and thus effective as advocates for their child's future educational progress.
The general program goals are adapted to meet the needs of individual children through a four-step process: observation, individual goal setting, implementing strategies and evaluation. The following developmental areas are considered as we organize our curriculum: planning skills and work habits, problem solving, perceptual skills, cognition, language, physical development, and social-emotional growth.
A fundamental aim of the program is to enhance each child's opportunity for success in school. By operating as an integral part of the school system, the program develops continuity with the Brookline kindergartens and primary grade curricula. Close working relationships with the kindergarten teachers, elementary counselors, elementary principals and senior school administrators are vital to the success of the program.
The classroom is organized to encourage children to plan, work independently and successfully complete activities. The space and program design allow activity choices to be available simultaneously in the various interest centers. Teachers are concerned with establishing a cheerful, caring atmosphere in which adults care for children and children feel confident and care for one another.
Our classroom teaching teams consist of a teacher, assistant teacher and one or more aides depending upon the needs of the group. The inclusive early childhood classrooms are supported by a team of early childhood specialists which include:
- Three supervisors, the Principal of Early Education and two Early Childhood Program Coordinators oversee all of the BEEP classes. They observe students and teachers, hold monthly team meetings, act as resources to the teachers on curriculum and adaptations, hold parent meetings, process enrollment, and plan and implement professional development.
- The social workers serve as team leaders for children with identified special needs. They also serve as a resource to parents who have questions or concerns about parenting and developmental issues.
- The speech and language pathologist provides intervention and support to help children understand and use a language system to communicate, as well as supporting speech and the ability to communicate in a social context.
- The occupational therapist provides intervention and support in the areas of small and large muscle coordination and skill development, as well sensory motor development, sensory processing, perceptual, visual motor, self-help, and play skills.
- The physical therapist provides intervention and support in the area of large muscle coordination and skill development, including postural control, physical strength and balance.
- The psychologist coordinates the intake and referral process for families requesting evaluations and administers psychological assessments of children who may qualify for special education services.
Our early childhood team provides regular classroom observations and consultation to the teachers.
RESPECT AND SUPPORT FOR DIVERSITY
We offer inclusive early childhood classrooms which serve children with diverse cultural backgrounds and a wide range of developmental needs. Teachers strive to create a classroom atmosphere that enables children to comfortably explore similarities and differences. Our hope and expectation is that parents join us in embracing the concept of inclusion, modeling an acceptance of all children in the program so that we can create a supportive community.