Pre-primary FAQ: Inclusion

My child has a special need. How will you support my child to take part in the Pre-primary Program?

The Pre-primary Program is an inclusive program. Children with special needs will continue to have access to the same services and supports they would receive at home or in a community based program when they are in the Pre-primary Program.

Please contact the Pre-primary Board Lead in your regional centre for education to discuss your child's needs before they start, and plan for a successful pre-primary experience.

Will children with special needs receive an EPA? Will an additional ECE support be hired?

If additional staff is needed to ensure a quality, inclusive early learning experience for all children, this will be addressed.

My child has autism and will be receiving EIBI. Must I delay their entry into pre-primary?

No. The EIBI program provides treatment to eligible children in their natural settings. This will include the Pre-primary Program.

My child has a condition that requires medication to be administered. Will the ECE make sure my child takes their medication and assist in administering it?

The program will work with families to ensure the needs of their child are met. Individual cases will be discussed when children are enrolled in the program.

My child has a life-threatening allergy. Will my child be safe in the Pre-primary Program?

If your child has a life-threatening allergy, it’s important to contact the Pre-primary Board Lead in your Regional Centre for Education or Conseil scolaire acadien provincial before their first day. The Pre-primary Board Lead will provide you with the necessary forms to be completed and help develop a plan to support your child.

If necessary, ECE’s will be trained in the use of an epi-pen. The Pre-primary Program is subject to the health and safety policies and regulations of the regional centre for education.

How will ECEs support my child with special needs?

ECEs will meet with you and any team members who support your child to learn about your child.  They will want to know about what your child likes to do, what motivates them, and what your goals are for the child.  They will use this information combined with their knowledge of the routine and the group of PP children to develop a plan that outlines how your child will be supported during the day.

The Pre-primary Program is child led and play based.  The day is planned around the group’s interests.  Your child’s interests and abilities are accounted for in this planning.  Small group activities will be planned in a way to ensure your child is successful. 

There may be times when your child needs some extra support, for instance getting dressed to go outside to play.  In this situation, an ECE would be with your child supporting them to get dressed, helping them when needed and teaching them new skills to learn independence.  Over time a peer may help them also.  Some children may not be toilet trained yet, ECEs will change diapers and supporting learning toileting as appropriate.  Other children may need help in small group activities (ie an art activity).  The ECE would plan art activities that are open-ended, that takes into account your child’s needs, what they can do and also what they are still learning to do.  ECEs consider goals of all individual children throughout the day.

My child does not understand boundaries or safety rules? How will you keep them safe?

All children’s safety is the priority always.  ECEs will plan activities that ensure all children are safe. 

ECEs will be teaching safety and supporting children to learn boundaries throughout all activities.  ECEs will perform daily safety checks on their environments (inside and outside) to look for any potential safety concerns as well as teaching children how to be safe.

Will you provide an Educational Assistant for children?

No.  The Pre-primary Program does not have Educational Assistants.  If additional staff is needed to ensure a quality, inclusive early learning experience for all children, this will be addressed, for the entire program.

How will children be supported as they transition into grade primary?

The Pre-primary Board Lead will initiate and begin by contacting the elementary school and support team.  There will be meetings with the Pre-primary Program team including community supports and the school team.  Families will be invited to all meetings be encouraged to lead the process as much as they wish. 

All documentation from Pre-primary Program and any developmental information will be in TIENET to support the school team in planning for the child. 

Who provides support in Pre-primary Program?

The community based supports available to preschool aged children will continue to support children in the Pre-primary Program.  This includes Nova Scotia Early Childhood Development Intervention Services, Nova Scotia Hearing and Speech Centres, Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention (EIBI), among others.

How will I know how my child is progressing?

Regular communication between family and ECE is critical in the Pre-primary Program.  In addition, there will be team meetings focussing on the child’s strengths, needs and goals.  These meetings will happen throughout the year and provide an opportunity for the family and team to discuss goals, how the child is developing and adjust goals based on current strengths, needs, and family wishes.

Can my child continue to receive early intervention?

Yes, all community based supports for preschool aged children are welcomed in the Pre-primary Program.

My child has special needs and would benefit from an extra year of Pre-primary Program. Why can’t they attend?

Government has committed to providing a year of pre-primary for all four year olds by 2021.  We believe that this one year of play based programming will provide all children with a great foundation to enter school, and our focus will be to ensure all 4 year olds who to participate will have access by 2021.