Developmental classrooms are designed to support young children with disabilities through an interdisciplinary service model that supports growth across the developmental domains. The special education teacher, teaching assistant, and specialists (OT, PT, SLP, etc.) work together to help children achieve their learning goals. Family members and school staff share information routinely and collaboratively. Curriculum and instruction is differentiated to meet the individual needs of each child. Many developmental classrooms include typically developing peers, called Buddy Bears. These classrooms are located in various elementary schools across the District.
Children who are 4 years old on or before September 1st will attend school from 11:30 am-3:30 pm, Monday-Friday.
Children who are 3 years old after September 1st will attend school 2.5 hours a day, Tuesday - Friday. Children attend the AM session from 8:15-10:45am or the PM session from 12:15-2:45 pm.
Communication classrooms support preschool children who demonstrate a delay in expressive language skills, but who are otherwise typically developing. The special education teacher and teaching assistant collaborate with the speech pathologist to engage students in highly structured activities that target skills such as attending, listening, phonemic awareness, speech sound development, speech intelligibility, and emergent literacy. Classrooms are located at Taku, Creekside Park, and Ravenwood. ASD transportation is provided.
Students attend 2.5 hour sessions, am or pm, T/W or TH/F. Children attend the AM session from 8:15-10:45am or the PM session from 12:15-2:45pm.
Listening & Spoken Language (Oral/Auditory)
Listening & Spoken Language classrooms support preschool and primary-aged deaf and hard of hearing students who have cochlear implants or wear hearing aids and communicate verbally. Curriculum and instruction are designed to optimize the development of audition, language, vocabulary, and literacy. These classrooms are located at Williwaw Elementary.
Children attend school from 9:00am-1:00pm, Monday-Friday. Children are eigible for ASD transportation.
Itinerant Speech & Language Services
Preschool children with suspected delays only in the area of speech-language may be referred to their neighborhood school for assessment. Itinerant speech-language services are offered for eligible children at the neighborhood school or at a school closest to the childcare setting. The school-based speech staff provide therapy with an emphasis on remediation of developmental language and articulation delays. Parents provide transportation.
Alaska State School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AKSDHH)
AKSDHH serves deaf and hard of hearing students from across Alaska, ages 3- 21, who use sign language as their primary mode of communication. The curriculum supports the development of American Sign Language and spoken and written English. The preschool classroom is located at Russian Jack. ASD transportation is provided. Contact AKSDHH at 742-4281 for more information.
Itinerant CARE Team Services
A child eligible for preschool special education services may receive itinerant support in his/her community setting, as appropriate. CARE team services are provided at community and ASD Head Start programs and ASD general education preschool classrooms. Direct and consultative services are provided on-site by an itinerant special education teacher and/or teaching assistant. CARE team members collaborate with the classroom team to meet the child’s developmental needs within the natural setting.
Buddy Bear Program
To apply, click the link below:
A Buddy Bear is a typically developing child that serves as a peer model for children in special education preschool classrooms. Buddy Bears provide opportunities and model age-appropriate social skills, language, and behavior for preschool students with disabilities.
The Buddy Bear Program model is not intended to provide traditional early childhood education for typically-developing children; it is designed to support the development of young children who are identified as developmentally-delayed or disabled.
A maximum of three Buddy Bears are allocated per classroom. Allocations will be determined by the principal and school team and will be reviewed throughout the school year. The number of Buddy Bear students allocated to each preschool special education class is based on the enrollment and needs of the special education students in each class.
- Children 4-years-old on or before September 1, 2023 attend 11:30am-3:30pm, Monday-Friday
- Children younger than 4-years-old on or before September 1, 2023 attend either 8:15-10:45am or 12:15pm-2:45pm, Tuesday-Friday
- Communication programs (Creekside, Taku, Ravenwood) operate 8:15-10:45am or 12:15pm-2:45pm, Tuesday/Wednesday or Thursday/Friday
- Age Eligibility: Children must be at least 3 years old to apply
- **Buddy Bears at Russian Jack must be able to use American Sign Language to communicate
- **Buddy Bears at Government Hill must be able to speak Spanish to communicate
Transportation is not provided for the Buddy Bear Program.
Application and Selection
In consultation with the school team(s), principals select Buddy Bears based on program and classroom needs, and returning Buddy Bear status. Buddy Bear applicants must complete the Buddy Bear Application. The Ages & Stages (ASQ) Screener is completed by the family when contacted by a school for possible selection.
Families will be contacted by the school if/when a program determines space is available for a Buddy Bear. Families may be contacted for a potential spot in the Buddy Bear program throughout the school year.
After applying, you will receive a copy of the application via email. You will not be contacted unless a school is pursuing adding Buddy Bears to their special education preschool classrooms.
Buddy Bears must reapply each school year.