School board has partnership with youngest county citizens

June 12, 2006|by ROXANNE OBER / Washington Co. Board of Education

Editor's note: On the second Monday of each month, Washington County Board of Education members and school staff will use this space to write about school system issues. This month's column - questions and answers about special programs for ages 5 and younger - is written by Roxanne Ober, a member of the Board of Education.

Washington County Public Schools partners with many agencies to offer services to our parents and students. One vital partnership that Washington County Public Schools offers is the Birth-to-Five Program. By way of this column, I hope to inform the citizens of the county about this important partnership to our youngest citizens.

What is the Birth-to-Five Program?

The Birth-to-Five Program is comprised of two parts. The Infant and Toddlers Program provides services to eligible students from birth through 2 years of age. This is an interagency partnership between Washington County Public Schools, the Washington County Health Department and the Washington County Department of Social Services. The Preschool Program is intended for children ages 3 and 4.


Who is eligible for this important program?

Eligibility for the Infant and Toddlers Program is based on the presence of delays in one or more of five developmental areas, including adaptive, cognitive, motor, communication and social/emotional; atypical behavior/development; or a diagnosed physical or mental condition placing the child at risk for delay. Eligible children and their families are served using an Individualized Family Service Plan.

Where are the services provided?

A variety of settings are utilized in the provision of services such as the home, child-care centers, early Head Start or pre-kindergarten. To the greatest extent possible, the least restrictive environment is selected. Children in the program receive services with typical peers whenever possible.

What type of services do the children receive?

Skills that are emphasized in the instructional process might include speech and language, gross and fine motor abilities, personal and self-care skills, problem-solving skills and developmental skills. Children in the Preschool Program also receive direct instruction to assist them in the acquisition of academic readiness skills.

What are the benefits?

The instructors and therapists monitor students for success to ensure progress is being made. Families are offered service coordination and support services. Washington County Public Schools, in partnership with parents and community agencies, provides these special services at no financial cost to families. Enhancement of a child's developmental skills and self-esteem at an early age can lead to academic success throughout the student's school career.

If you know of a young child who might benefit from this program, please call Child Find at 301-766-8217 or 301-766-2964.

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