Administrative Procedure 210
EARLY LEARNING SERVICES
Research confirms that the early years of a child’s life are the most critical period in development. Early childhood development sets the course for a child’s future, and shapes the brain in ways that impact lifelong learning, behaviour, health, and quality of life. Getting a positive start is key to a successful future.
Early Learning in Elk Island Public Schools supports children in reaching emotional, social, intellectual, and physical developmental milestones in inclusive, play-based, language-rich, and literacy-rich learning environments. It supports school readiness and prepares children for their transition to Grade 1. It focuses on the identification and implementation of best practices that align with early learning pedagogy. Early Learning supports equitable opportunities for children to participate in early learning experiences, including early intervention.
The Division enrols children in Early Learning programming based on the School Act and Alberta Education funding criteria.
refers to the instructional programming hours provided by a certificated teacher in a school setting.
Child with a Disability/Delay:
refers to a child assessed and identified with a mild, moderate, or severe disability/delay, as defined by Alberta Education’s Special Education Coding Criteria.
Developmentally Immature Child:
refers to a child enrolled in a Kindergarten program for a second year because the parent and the school agree that a Kindergarten program is the most appropriate placement for the child. The child must be less than seven years old on September 1 and not previously coded as a child with special education needs.
Early Intervention Services:
refers to educational programming for children prior to Kindergarten, and includes both PALS and START.
refers to a continuum of inclusive, play-based programming that is developmentally appropriate and meets the diverse needs of young children and their families. Early Years Programming learning includes early intervention (pre-Kindergarten) as well as Kindergarten programming.
Family-Oriented Programming (FOP):
refers to opportunities for families of children with disabilities/delays to learn together through engaging sessions. Research shows that when parents participate in their child’s learning, their long-term outcomes at home, at school, and within the community improve. Through FOP, parents or alternate caregivers learn about their child’s development, and learn and practice helpful strategies to support their child to learn, work, behave, and play in healthy positive ways across settings. Family-Oriented Programming takes place outside of centre-based programming and is implemented under the direction of a certificated teacher.
Individualized Program Plan (IPP) or Instructional Support Plan (ISP):
is a statement of intentions developed to address the child’s learning needs and is based on individual assessment that helps identify the level and types of instructional strategies and supports the child requires. An IPP or ISP is mandatory for all children identified as having special education needs, including mild, moderate, and severe disabilities/delays.
refers specifically to the education program for children in the year prior to Grade 1.
Play and Learn at School (PALS) Program:
is an early intervention program for children aged three to five years (as of September 1) with severe or mild/moderate disabilities/delays. Programming occurs through a combination of centre-based programming and Family-Oriented Programming. PALS offers an enhanced support team that includes teachers, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, educational assistants, inclusive learning consultants, and family-school liaison workers.
Program Unit Funding (PUF):
is provided by Alberta Education to school authorities for Early Learning for children with severe disabilities/delays who require additional support beyond that offered in a regular program. Funding is provided for individualized programming that meets the educational needs of children with severe disabilities/delays who are at least two years, six months of age and less than six years of age on September 1. PUF may be accessed for a maximum of three years for each eligible child.
Supporting Transition and Readiness Team (START) Program:
is an early intervention program for children aged two years, six months to two years, eleven months (as of September 1) with severe disabilities/delays. Programming occurs through community-based and home-based Family-Oriented Programming. START offers an enhanced support team that includes teachers, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, inclusive learning consultants, and family-school liaison workers.
- Early Intervention Services
- Enrolment in Early Intervention Services is voluntary.
- Early Intervention Services are co-ordinated centrally and offered through the Play and Learn at School (PALS) and Supporting Transition and Readiness Team (START) programs.
- Children with severe disabilities/delays are eligible for centre-based early intervention programming (PALS) if they are three years of age on September 1 of that school year.
- Children with mild/moderate delays/disabilities are eligible for centre-based early intervention programming (PALS) if they will be four years old on or before December 31 of that school year.
- Children with severe disabilities/delays who are between two years, six months of age and two years, eleven months as of September 1 are eligible for family-oriented early intervention programming (START). Due to the three year maximum Program Unit Funding (PUF) eligibility per child, the Division works closely with families of young children to ensure continued and uninterrupted services.
- The guiding principles within Play, Participation and Possibilities: An Early Learning and Childcare Framework for Alberta (2015) are the basis for all early intervention services programming.
- Enrolment in Kindergarten is voluntary.
- A child is eligible to enrol in Kindergarten if he/she will be five years old on or before December 31 of that school year.
- Kindergarten programming will provide a minimum of 475 instructional hours during a school year. For individual children, modification to these hours, based on the child’s developmental level and educational needs, is possible.
- A child who is at least six years old but less than seven years old on September 1 may enrol in Kindergarten if the child is developmentally immature or is entering a Kindergarten program for the first time.
- The guiding principles within the Kindergarten Program Statement are the basis for all Kindergarten programs.
- A decision to enrol a child in a Kindergarten program for more than one year will be made jointly by the teacher and principal, in consultation with the parent/guardian.
- A child whose parent(s) or guardian(s) live(s) within the boundaries of the Division is eligible to enrol in Grade 1 if he/she will be six years old on or before December 31 of that school year.
- Any exceptions to school entrance into Kindergarten or Grade 1 must be approved by the Superintendent or designate.
Sections 8, 30, 60, 61, 113 School Act
Early Childhood Regulation 31/2002
Guide to Education ECS to Grade 12
Alberta Education Inclusive Education Policy (new- fall of 2015)
Funding Manual for School Authorities
Standards for Special Education
Standards for the Provision of Early Childhood Special Education
Play, Participation and Possibilities: An Early Learning and Childcare Framework for Alberta (2015)
Alberta Education ECS Fact Sheets
Last Updated: March 2016