Early Childhood Special Education Curriculum

The preschool special education curriculum is a developmentally based program designed to develop thinking, language, social-emotional, and physical skills in preschool children. This program uses appropriate materials and experiences that challenge children to develop and use capacities that are emerging at their particular developmental stages. The Creative Curriculum for Early Childhood is used as the curricular guide. The program makes extensive use of speech and language, occupational, and physical therapists, adapted physical education teachers, nurses, and parent facilitators, as well as other specialists with expertise in specific types of disabilities.

The instructional design, as designated on the student's IEP, balances a diagnostic/corrective intervention with an experiential interactive approach. Prerequisite skills necessary for success in kindergarten or other appropriate learning environments are emphasized: attentiveness, language and speech development, visual and auditory perception necessary for recognition and discrimination, fine and gross motor skills, socialization, and self-help.

Progress is reported through systems of direct contact with parents: home visits, telephone calls, communication booklets, and the IEP process.

Major Outcomes

Students will:

  • Practice language development/pre-reading skills through listening, speaking, and/or signing vocabulary when appropriate.
  • Learn mathematics skills needed to better understand concepts of time, basic shapes, matching, classification, and spatial relationships.
  • Practice social/prevocational skills that enhance self-concept and include sharing, accepting responsibility, developing friendships, observing the rights of others, and identification of different occupations.
  • Participate in race/human relations activities that provide multicultural/multiracial experiences.
  • Use songs, stories, pictures, and experiences to develop awareness and curiosity about the natural world.
  • Develop skills necessary for independence in areas of eating, dressing, and toileting, as well as appropriate health and safety habits.
  • Participate in art activities that stress the child's experience with the creative process, not the product.
  • Participate in dance movements, singing, and playing of musical instruments.
  • Participate in activities that enhance sensorimotor integration, gross and fine motor skills, and physical fitness.

The preschool curriculum is available from the Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Program offices at:

Whittier Center,
3401 Clairemont Drive,
San Diego, CA 92117
(858) 490-8500