LEAP Preschool

LEAP is an acronym for Learning Experiences: an Alternative Program for Preschoolers and Parents. Our special education LEAP Preschool provides high-quality early intervention services to preschool children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and their typically-developing peers.

LEAP Preschool is a NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) accredited program, having met the Early Learning Program standards to earn this recognition. As a NAEYC-accredited program, LEAP is proven to provide a high-quality preschool program with a safe and nurturing environment while fostering healthy development for young children.

LEAP Preschool is also a NCASES (National Commission for the Accreditation of Special Education Services) accredited program, having met the highest quality standards necessary. NCASES accreditation indicates LEAP’s commitment to providing the highest standards of education services for our students.

Preschool for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

LEAP reflects a naturalistic, inclusive developmental approach to teaching children with autism spectrum disorders in an early childhood environment. This approach focuses on enhancing the skills of children with autism through interaction and play with typically-developing peers. The LEAP model is one of the most extensively validated intervention programs in early childhood special education history.

Family Support

Family involvement is essential for the success of the children who participate in the LEAP Preschool program. To help families better understand and reinforce the skills their child is learning, LEAP Preschool offers basic behavior management training for parents. This training provides parents with the necessary knowledge to teach their children new skills at home.


The Watson Institute’s LEAP Preschool program operates at the W. Bruce Thomas Education Center in Sharpsburg, PA.

LEAP classrooms consist of 4 children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and 8 typically developing children and are staffed by a special education teacher and a classroom aide. Students in these programs may receive support from occupational and speech therapists, depending on their individual needs.

LEAP Preschool operates in half-day sessions, with a.m. and p.m. classes available.


The goal of LEAP Preschool is for all children with special needs to reach their fullest potential so they are best able to benefit from the curriculum in their home school district. In the last five years, over 60% of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder who attended LEAP Preschool entered the regular education setting in their home school district.

For more information or to refer a student with autism to the LEAP Preschool, contact Meagan Trimbur, M.Ed., Educational Liaison.

412-749-2805 or [email protected]

Additional Resources:

LEAP Preschool Flyer

2023-2024 LEAP Preschool School Calendar

2024-2025 LEAP Sharpsburg School Calendar

The Watson Institute
LEAP Preschool
200 Linden Avenue
Sharpsburg, PA 15215