Sunday, December 21, 2008

A new path?

It's going to be busy and I'm not so sure I'll get around to blogging again before the new year. I wanted to blog a little about where the year has taken me and where I think I might be going. Let's recap. I've worked in-home as a therapist for children with Autism. Then I went to Head Start. Then I left Head Start, thinking that I wanted to become a director. WRONG!!! I went back to Head Start, have been presented with my most challenging group yet, and have started my Ph.D. in Early Childhood.

As of late, I have begun looking into what I would need to do to get my Early Childhood Special Education teaching license for the state of Wisoconsin. This won't be a small feat, since I graduated with my Bachelor's in Elementary Education, Non-Certifiable. I won't go into why I made that decision. I don't regret it, but this means that I have to jump through some hoops that I would not have had to if I was "certifiable." I'm chatting with a few schools to see what sort of time frame I am looking at and what sort of options are available, especially since I've already got a Ph.D in progress. I'll keep you posted!!!

In the mean time, here are some great Early Childhood Special Education Resources.
WI DPI Early Childhood Special Education Info
Topics in Early Childhood Special Education
Council for Exceptional Children
Special Education in Preschool
Preschool Special Education
Creating an Inclusive Classroom
Special Education Information at Scholastic
Preschool Zone

Friday, December 19, 2008

Well, it's been awhile!

It has certainly been awhile since I have posted here. Things are going well. I'm back at Head Start and working with a classroom of children with some pretty high needs. I'm learning lots, that's for sure! I'm also working on my Ph.D in Early Childhood and I'm contemplating getting my Early Childhood Special Education license for the state of Wisconsin.

Here's a little info about the room I'm in this year:
  • I have 19 students who are all age three.
  • Two of my students have a documented disability and IEP
  • Three of my students have some behavioral concerns but no IEP at this point
  • Most of my students are present for the full day (my Head Start room has wrap around child care).
Here area some of the helpful accommodations or schedule adjustments that I have made at this point:
  • Large, posted visual schedule
  • I use visuals, such as a "First/Then board," as needed.
  • I have completely taken "large group" activities from daily schedule and have replaced them with small group activities only. For instance, many preschool classrooms have a large group for circle time. I do not because of the level of behavioral concerns that pop up when I have everyone together at one time. Instead, I do circle time during our "small group" time. Small groups are on a rotating schedule, so everyone does not do circle time every day.
  • I provide "heavy work" activities for the children who need them.
  • I have taken out all unneeded transitions. If I can make something happen without a large transition, I do. Because of this, our day looks relatively seamless. It may even appear that there is no set time for anything. Vanderbelt University has some wonderful work on transitions and how to make them more effective for your students. This guide was very helpful in my adjustments. Early Childhood Today also has some terrifc tips for succssful transitions.
  • Think proactively. I do a lot of prep. I over plan and I have stuff out and ready to go so that I do not need to spend time while the children are in the room getting things going. When the children are outside with the other teachers, I set up the room for our small group time so that we can dismiss right to small groups as we enter the room.
Until next time. . . . . .