The CHIME Institute Preschool Inclusion Program is unique in its provision of a transdisciplinary and developmentally appropriate program designed to support the inclusion of children with disabilities into a general education setting.
Special features include:
- Developmentally appropriate interventions and therapies embedded within typical early childhood classroom settings and activities
- Emphasis on natural social and communication skills practice with peers
- Individualized approach to classroom modifications planning
The CHIME Preschool Inclusion Program operates at the California State University, Northridge, Child & Family Studies Center (CFSC). The CFSC is an early childhood program committed to fostering the continued growth and development of the "whole child." It is a study and research organization that is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and is licensed by the California Department of Social Services.
The CHIME Preschool Inclusion Program is certified by the California State Department of Education and meets and/or exceeds all state program requirements. Highly qualified licensed and credentialed staff members make provisions for all services.
Philosophy and Approach:
We believe that a high quality early childhood program can provide the best learning environment for young children with disabilities as it encourages children to learn through exploration and play. Additionally, children can learn from opportunities to observe and interact with their peers. In inclusive early education programs, typically developing children can provide more advanced models for the promotion of play, social skills, and language. Some young children with disabilities may need extra assistance and support to participate in a group setting, more intensive supervision for their safety or health needs, and special interventions. At CHIME, we believe that these special services and supports are most effective when they are provided within the context of the CFSC classroom.
Staff and Services:
The staff includes an inclusion specialist, who is a fully credentialed special education teacher with expertise in early childhood special education, and who maintains primary responsibility for the implementation of each child's Individualized Education Program (IEP). In collaboration with the general education staff and other CHIME staff and parents, the inclusion specialist develops and models classroom modifications, lesson plans, and intervention strategies. In order to facilitate the development of language and communication in a social context, a licensed speech and language pathologist provides therapy in the context of the regular classroom, as well as outdoor activities. Inclusion assistants are assigned on a ratio of one assistant per two or three children with disabilities. Under the collaborative supervision of CHIME and the Child & Family Studies Center professional staff, these trained assistants help children to select and participate in classroom activities, and to interact and play with other children. Highly qualified staff members demonstrate best practices and serve as mentors to professionals-in-training for early childhood special education. A large number of university students observe and participate in the CHIME program as part of their training.
Additionally, the program is enhanced by:
- Behavior Intervention plans and implementation
- Parent support and education groups
- Development and implementation of individual activity plans
- Regular monitoring of progress through daily and written notes, as well as regular reviews at staff meetings
- Collaboration and planning with regular education staff