Early Childhood Special Education – When I Grow Up

The Watson Institute recognizes the importance of early childhood special education and its positive impact on the success of students with special needs. At Watson, special education teachers incorporate IEP goals into all aspects of the classroom schedule, understanding that building the foundation for success should start early on in the students’ education.

Megan Megrey, a special education teacher at the Watson Institute Education Center Sewickley, strives to incorporate goal-based work into all of her classroom’s daily activities.

“We embed IEP goal work across curriculum so my students are progressing whether they are in my classroom, participating in music class, physical therapy or any other daily activity.” said Megan.

In Megan’s class, students also follow the MOVE (Mobility Opportunity Via Education) curriculum which helps families, educators and therapists work together towards goals specific to each student’s individual needs. This early childhood special education program promotes full participation in the home, at school and in community life.

Building a foundation of mobility and independence starting in early childhood special education helps to prepare students with special needs for future participation in community living.

Conversations about a transition plan for students with special needs typically start around age 14. However, incorporating activities into students’ daily routines that promote independence and life skills development, beginning in early childhood special education, can help in the transition process when the time comes.

Just as Megan’s students! Recently, students participated in an activity called “When I Grow Up I Want to Be…” in which each student got to choose from a variety of occupational costumes including, doctor, firefighter, butterfly, construction worker and others. This early childhood special education activity was not only fun for the students, but had IEP-driven goals embedded throughout.

“The students gained sensory input from touching the costumes and identifying different colors. They also go to practice decision-making and independence through making their choice of which outfit they wanted to wear.” said Megan about the activity.

Megan’s students prove it’s never too early to start thinking about the future!