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Enhancing Preschool Inclusion: Assessing Meaningful Skills and Setting IEP Goals

In any preschool inclusion classroom setting, the focus is on fostering an inclusive environment where students feel safe and supported so that they can make meaningful progress. In this blog post, we will explore effective strategies for assessing skills and setting tailored IEP goals for young learners. I’m excited to share practical tips and insights from my experience consulting in ABA and inclusion preschool classrooms!

Assessing Skills in Preschool Inclusion

Begin by keenly observing each child in various classroom activities (e.g., play, circle time, lunch). Note their interactions with peers, engagement in play, communication skills, and ability to follow instructions. These observations provide valuable insights into their current skill levels and areas needing support.

Refer to age-appropriate developmental milestones checklists to assess a child’s progress across different domains such as cognitive, motor, language, and social-emotional skills. This structured approach helps identify areas of strength and areas requiring intervention. Utilizing developmental milestones also gives us valuable perspective on what skills are realistic at this age. For example, I might want to include an IEP goal for washing hands for a three year old learner, but set the criteria at only 60 or 70% independence, as it is still age appropriate at age 3 to require some assistance during self-help skills.

new blog square photos 15 Enhancing Preschool Inclusion: Assessing Meaningful Skills and Setting IEP Goals
Everyday activities such as circle time, play, and lunch are great opportunities to learners’ abilities in their natural settings.

Incorporate informal assessments into daily routines. For instance, during circle time, observe a child’s ability to attend to the teacher, participate in group activities, and follow simple directions. (I like to keep a clipboard or data binder handy during these activities to jot down anecdotal notes or structured observations to compare progress over time). Likewise, during playtime, assess their social interactions, imaginative play skills, and problem-solving abilities. Check out this bundle of preschool inclusion tools for more specific assessment tools and pre-written IEP goals.

Collaboration with Early Childhood Specialists

Work closely with your school specialists such as speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and other professionals to conduct comprehensive assessments. Their expertise can offer insight into each child’s needs and inform goal-setting. This multidisciplinary approach ensures that IEP goals will be well-rounded and address all aspects of a child’s development, promoting their overall success in the preschool inclusion classroom.

Preparing IEP Goals in Preschool Inclusion Settings

  1. SMART Goals: Ensure that goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART). For example, instead of a vague goal like “improve social skills,” consider a specific objective such as “engage in appropriate turn-taking during structured group activities with peers, with 80% accuracy over 3 consecutive data sessions.”

  2. Incorporate Functional Skills: Align goals with functional skills that promote independence and participation in classroom routines. Goals related to self-help skills, communication abilities, and social interactions foster inclusion and empower children to actively engage in their learning environment. Check out this preschool inclusion assessment and IEP Goal bundle of resources for specific skills across domains of: Classroom Readiness, Fine & Gross Motor, Social Skills, Play Skills, Adaptive Behavior Skills, and Self Help Skills.

  3. Individualized Approach: Recognize the unique strengths, interests, and challenges of each child when crafting IEP goals. Refer to the assessment data options highlighted above and take care to only add goals in areas of specific need for each student. Remember that no two learners are exactly alike. Tailor interventions to meet specific needs, ensuring that goals are meaningful, relevant, and achievable within their developmental context.

  4. Progress Monitoring Strategies: Implement data collection methods to track progress towards preschool inclusion IEP goals effectively. Digital data collection tools can streamline this process, providing real-time insights into a child’s performance and informing instructional decisions.

Conclusion

Preschool inclusion classrooms offer a supportive environment where every child’s potential can flourish. By employing thoughtful assessment practices and crafting individualized goals for IEPs, we foster meaningful progress and inclusive educational experiences. By using varied assessment tools, collaborating with team members, crafting SMART goals, incorporating functional skills and thorough progress monitoring, your students’ potential for growth is unlimited.

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