Early childhood program expands base in Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills District 181
Marilyn Charo gets a push on the swing during recess time at the Oak School early childhood education program. Oak School is one of the schools offering an early childhood education program in District 181. | Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media.
Updated: November 12, 2012 6:06AM
HINSDALE — The expansion District 181’s early childhood program has been successful for everyone involved.
Originally, the program was limited to students with developmental delays or would have qualified for special education.
The 2012-13 school year is the third year in which openings in the program at Oak School may be filled by students who don’t fit into either of those categories, but rather are what educators call “typically developing peers,” said Christine Igoe, Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181’s director of pupil services.
The 55 students in the program meet daily for 2 1/2 hours; there are both morning and afternoon sessions.
Children are taught concepts and skills related to language arts, math, science, physical growth, health and social/emotional milestones. Children who need it also have access to occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech and language services.
There is no cost for the early childhood program for children who have developmental delays or would qualify for special education. The cost for other children is $250 a month.
“It really is a win-win situation for all the kids,” Igoe said. “For the kids with developmental delays or who would be special ed, it provides them lots of role models. They hear appropriate language, and it’s another peer that is able to be the model.”
Igoe said the experience also has been very positive for typically developing peers.
“They have the same access to an outstanding staff, and it makes the transition to kindergarten easier for all the kids who are in the program,” Igoe said.
Jennifer Zock said her daughter, now a first-grader at Madison School, benefited from 1 ½ years in the program.
“She was in a local preschool and had some speech and language development issues,” Zock said. “She needed a little more support than she could get at the preschool.”
Zock said she had her daughter go through the preschool testing offered by District 181.
“It turned out to be wonderful for her when she went into the early childhood program,” she said. “The teachers are directly connected with the kindergarten teachers in the district, and it made for a perfect transition.”
For more information, contact Igoe at (630) 390-0688, or by email at email@example.com.