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Substantially Separate Classroom

Cambridge Public Schools Special Start self-contained Preschool Classrooms provide educational experiences for students three to five years old. These classrooms operate six hours a day, eleven months a year. The classrooms have been established to meet the educational needs of young students with autism or moderate to severe developmental delays, who require intensive, intentional, and directed teaching.

SpecialStart3.jpgAn Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed for each child placed in our classrooms. The teaching practices in our classrooms are based upon principals of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) while systematic data collection is provided. Developmental and relationship based strategies may also be incorporated into the teaching methodology. Additional teaching strategies used in classroom programs may include: affective play strategies, multi-sensory approach, social stories, visual support systems as well as opportunities for integration. The classrooms offer a structured approach and are designed to support developmentally appropriate behaviors and to generalize acquired skills across a continuum of settings, for example one-to-one, small groups, and large group instruction.

Student progress is assessed on an ongoing basis using quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis to support curriculum and interventions. The classroom curriculum is based upon guidelines from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care's Guidelines for Preschool Learning Experiences. Teachers provide a stimulating, innovative, and rich curriculum which meets the needs of all children. Evidence based practice drives the teaching and learning in our classrooms.

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