Preschool Programs for Children with Special Needs
Lafayette Learning Center
31 Hazel Street, Morristown, NJ 07960
Dr. Karen Andre, Principal
The Morris School District Lafayette Learning Center Preschool was developed to address the educational and developmental needs of children ages 3-5. It is comprised of three types of classes: inclusive classes that educate both typically and specially developing four-year old students; preschool classes for students with Individualized Educational Programs and the need for smaller groups sizes and more individualized programming;and classes with highly specialized instruction for students with autism and students with hearing impairments. We also have an Early Childhood Outreach program that supports the needs of resident students in private preschool programs throughout the district.
Children participate in either a morning, afternoon, or full-day session five days per seek. Our full-time staff, all of whom have met highly qualified state standards, includes certified teachers, speech therapists, behavior specialists, occupational therapists, teacher assistants, assistant behavior specialists, and a school nurse. A school social worker is also available on a daily basis, serving as the case manager for most children with identified disabilities.
Our classrooms are ample in physical space, have a variety of centers and materials that invite diverse activities and promote creative and thoughtful play. Classroom space and layout encourage social and independent activities, use of indoor and outdoor space, and provide easy access to extensive resources. Daily routines and activites promote self-regulation, curiosity, problem solving, and language development, as well as increased capacity for using multiple intelligences to develop reading skills and technological literacy.
We are fortunate that our LLC Preschool program has use of excellent classroom and special area facilities. Our classrooms are a minimum size of 22’ by 36’ with center areas typical of quality preschool programs. We also have a large, fenced-in outdoor play area, full-size gymnasium, and an auditorium for large motor and performance activities.
Our preschool classes employ the Tools of the Mind (TOM) curriculum, a research-based program endorsed by the NJ Department of Education. The TOM curriculum was designed to enhance student growth in all areas of development, with a special emphasis on fostering self-regulation through the development of students’ attending, remembering, and thinking skills. Students follow a daily schedule which includes many purposeful activities and structured environment designed to foster creativity, imagination, problem-solving, communication, meta-cognition, and the expansion of core understandings and skills. The teachers utilize the Tools of the Mind curriculum and work towards achievement of the NJ Preschool Learning & Expectations: Standards of Quality. If you would like to know more about our Tools of the Mind curriculum – its history, philosophy, activities, staff training, related resources, or samples of play plans, please access the TOM website at www.toolsofthemind.org