Integrated Preschool Program offered by East Windsor school district

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A special preschool program that brings together in the same classroom young children with special needs and their peers that do not have special needs is being offered by the East Windsor Regional School District for the 2019-2020 school year.

The Integrated Preschool Program is open to all children in the East Windsor Regional School District who will be 3 years old or 4 years old by Oct. 1 – but not 5 years old by Oct. 1. They must be toilet trained, school district officials said.

The program will be offered as a half-day program, with morning and afternoon sessions, Monday through Friday. Parents can choose either a morning or an afternoon session.

The morning session runs from 8:50 a.m. to 11:20 a.m, and the afternoon session runs from 12:50 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. The program starts on Sept. 5, 2019 and ends on June 18, 2020, and follows the public school district calendar.

Bringing together special education preschoolers and general education (non-special needs) preschoolers in the same classroom has been shown to be beneficial to all of the students, said David Roe, the school district’s director of Student Services.

“The program is planned and structured so that all children will develop the belief that they are more alike than different,” Roe said. They will learn compassion and develop a sense of self-worth, he said.

Language, academic and social skills will be developed in an inclusive classroom and in a nurturing environment by the classroom teacher, who is certified in both special education and regular education, Roe said. An educational assistant will be assigned to the classroom.

Students who are eligible for special education are placed in the program through an evaluation process performed by the East Windsor Regional School District’s Student Services Department.

The general education preschool students will be chosen for the program by a lottery system. Lottery applications must be returned to the school district’s Central Registration Building at 384 Stockton St. in Hightstown by March 28 at noon.

The lottery drawing will be held April 15, and written notification will be mailed after April 16, school district officials said.

Tuition for general education preschool students is $300 per month, and transportation is included. Tuition may be paid in one payment of $3,000, or in increments of $300 per month based on a fee schedule.

Certain documents need to be presented when the lottery application and contract are submitted – an original birth certificate with a raised seal, or a passport; a current lease, tax bill or mortgage statement; and a current utility bill or an official piece of recurring mail.

The lottery application and the contract are available at the Central Registration Building, or online at www.eastwindsoregionalschools.com.