Special Start offers an inclusionary educational experience where children with disabilities are educated with children without disabilities. The students who do not have disabilities serve as peer models for learning.
Special Start offers a half day program, operating from 8AM to 12Noon each weekday. Special Start classrooms use innovative curricula with individualization for every student based on each child’s growth and development, and the classroom provides a higher student-to-teacher ratio than required for other programs.
Children with disabilities are assigned to Special Start through the Team Evaluation Process and have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). Students without disabilities must apply for the limited available seats through the 3-Year-Old Lottery.
In this way the program aims to meet the needs of all children as outlined by state and federal requirements for early childhood education.
Special Start classrooms are located within Cambridge Public School buildings. Students are assigned to the classrooms based on the needs of the program. However, when more than one seat is available, staff will work with parents to make the best possible placement.
The program is not an entry point for the elementary schools in which they are located. Families must participate in the Kindergarten Lottery in order to make choices for Kindergarten.
For more information, contact:
Cambridge, MA 02139
Shelagh Kelly Walker, Coordinator
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