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Preschool Programs

Preschool Programs

The Carlsbad Unified School District's Special Education Early Childhood Preschool Program provides early intervention services to eligible preschool children between the ages of three to five. Opportunities are available for children with disabilities to interact and participate in activities with typically developing preschool peers as most of our classes are fully integrated.  

Preschool-aged children may be referred for special education preschool programs by parents or other interested parties, including preschool teachers, medical professionals, representatives of community agencies, etc. Referrals may be made by calling the the Carlsbad Unified School District's Assessment Team's office.  For preschool evaluation please call (760) 331-5073.

To determine if a child is eligible for special education, information is gathered from a variety of sources, including:

  • The results of a play-based assessment conducted by a multi-disciplinary team, which may include a psychologist, speech language pathologist, early childhood education specialist, occupational therapist, and adapted physical education staff
  • Review of available medical and/or developmental reports
  • An interview with parent(s) or primary caregiver; and
  • Completion of formal and/or informal evaluation tools

To share the results of the evaluation, a meeting is convened with the parent(s) or primary caregiver and the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team. The team members summarize the evaluation results and current developmental skills. If the child meets the eligibility criteria for one of the 14 disability areas and is found to be in need of special education services, the IEP team, comprised of the parent, school staff and others invited, may develop an IEP. Specific goals are developed for each area of a student's identified need.

A range of services and program options are considered by the IEP team.  All programs and services considered must reflect a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) and ensure that the student is placed in the least restrictive environment (LRE).  Program options available for preschool students include:

Related Instruction and Service

These services include such supplemental services as speech, occupational therapy and Adaptive Physical Education (APE).  Frequently these services are provided at the preschool student's home school.

Speech Language Intensive Program (SLIP)

SLIP is an intensive speech & language program for students with good receptive language skills and delayed expressive language skills.  SLIP meets twice a week for two hours a day and is run by a speech and language pathologist and an assistant.  There are typically 6 to 8 students in this class.   Some of the students continue on in SLIP for additional time, some return to the home school for related service speech therapy and some are recommended to attend our preschool classroom program. 

Special Education Preschool Classroom (Special Day Class)

Should a student require a more intensive program than a speech therapy or a SLIP class, CUSD offers Special Education preschool classes at Buena Vista Elementary School and Hope Elementary School.  

The classes at Buena Vista Elementary run four days a week for three hours each day.  The preschool classes are comprised of students with special needs and typical peers who pay tuition to attend the program.  Students not only receive a language rich classroom but also any related services (speech therapy, occupational therapy, adaptive physical therapy, physical therapy, etc.) that are deemed appropriate by the IEP Team.  

The classes at Hope Elementary School are five days a week for three hours a day.  These classes are comprised of special needs students without typical peers.  This program has a more behavioral focus for students who require individual or small group instruction to be successful.  Students not only receive a language rich classroom but also any related services (speech therapy, occupational therapy, adaptive physical therapy, physical therapy, etc.) that are deemed appropriate by the IEP Team.