About Early Childhood Programming

Early Childhood Programs

This program is for children 3- to 5-years- old who have a significant delay in any developmental areas (speech/language, fine/gross motor, cognitive skills, social skills, self-help skills). The child must live in the Olathe School District to be eligible.

Early intervention provides the necessary services
to enable children who experience developmental delays
to progress toward the goal of school readiness.

Serving special education children in the least restrictive environment possible, and allowing them the opportunity to meet their goals, is the focus of the Early Childhood Disability program. Children age 5 and under who are not eligible for kindergarten and who live in the Olathe School District may be screened at no charge to see if they have a potential delay in any developmental areas.

Children 3 and older, who live in the district and are eligible for, and in need of, the early childhood disability services will be provided an appropriate intervention program. These services range from a single related service (speech therapy, occupational therapy or physical therapy) to a focused early childhood special education setting. Intermediate options include community-based early childhood services (Head Start, for example) and an integrated early childhood disability preschool.

Early childhood disability programs are housed in various district elementary schools and at Heartland and Harmony Early Childhood Centers. Parents pay the annual pre-kindergarten enrollment fee. These programs follow the Olathe School District calendar and follow the district’s early childhood curriculum.

Early Childhood Educational Programs

Early Childhood Disability Classrooms:
Located in various elementary schools throughout the school district and at Heartland & Harmony Early Childhood Centers. These programs are designed to meet the needs of early childhood students who are demonstrating significant delays, typically in more than one developmental area. Students have the opportunity to interact with typically developing children, referred to as peers. If the student needs one or more related services (speech, occupational therapy, etc) these services will be provided while the student is in the program. Classes are offered Monday thru Friday. The number of days children attend per week is outlined by their Individual Education Plan.

Early Childhood Career Opportunities Program (ECCO):
A limited number of openings are available for 4 year old children to participate in the Olathe School District ECCO Program. Olathe School District staff members supervise high school juniors and seniors as they learn to be early childhood teachers. The teens plan and implement activities in the classroom, which reinforce the concepts studied in the academic portion of their instruction.

The daily routine in the ECCO Program includes learning center time, group time, snack time, small group time, and outdoor play. Special events featuring music, physical education or field trips are a regular highlight of the student’s day.

This program follows the same curriculum used in the other early childhood programs in the Olathe School District. Participation fees apply to all ECCO students. A reduction of rates is available for those who qualify, based on district guidelines.

Olathe Head Start:
Olathe Head Start is a federally funded program for 3 and 4 year olds from income eligible families. Children must be at least 3 years old by August 31st to begin the school year.

Head Start children receive a variety of services including:

  • Learning experiences for intellectual, social and emotional growth.
  • Social services to link the child’s home, Head Start and community resource agencies
  • Medical and dental exams are required.
  • Vision and hearing screenings are provided.
  • Children with special needs are served by Head Start.
  • Breakfast or a snack, as well as lunch, is provided daily.
  • Mental health counseling services are available.
  • Children and their families are given information and support regarding the transition to kindergarten.
  • Parenting, personal growth, nutrition, and education classes are offered for parents.

Jump Start:
Four year old children with academic challenges may be able to get a “jump start” on Kindergarten by attending this program, offered by the Olathe School District with support from a Kansas State Department of Education grant. Using hands-on activities in an enriched language environment, the four-year-olds are part of a positive partnership between school and home. Jump Start classes are held three hours a day, Monday thru Friday, following the Olathe School District calendar.

The Olathe School District only offers early childhood programs for three to five year old children with an identified disability as mandated by the State of Kansas. General preschool is not provided.

We incorporate typically developing children into our Early Childhood Disability classrooms, referred to as peers. Peer applicants must be three or four years old on or before August 31st of the upcoming school year and must reside in the Olathe School District. It is important for peers to demonstrate skills in the areas of playing cooperatively, complying with adult requests, communicating effectively, participating in group activities, sharing and taking turns, and be independent in toileting and self-care skills. Participation fees apply to all peers. Fees vary according to level of participation (days per week) and apply across the district. Fees are payable on a monthly basis. A reduction of rates is available for those who qualify, based on district guidelines.

Community Preschool Options:
For a list of preschool programs in this community contact the Family Conservancy/Child Care Source  at 913-573-2273     www.thefamilyconservancy.org

For more information about the Early Childhood Disability programs,
call (913) 780-7015.



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Written By: Melissa Thomas Date posted: 10/01/2012