The Don Earl Early Childhood Center opened its doors in August of 2003. A total of ten classrooms were available with a.m. and p.m. options. This was a big shift in Early Childhood Education for the district considering that the first ECSE room opened at Sherwood Elementary in August of 1991. ECSE stands for Early Childhood Special Education. Our program is offered in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Act where "all children with disabilities are entitled to a free appropriate public education."
Today we offer a variety of services through our early childhood special education program. At Don Earl, we have 14 classrooms providing a.m. services from 9:15am to 12:15pm, and p.m. services from 1:15pm to 4:15pm from Monday to Thursday. Our center is staffed with certified teachers and support staff along with a variety of specialists in the areas of speech, language, physical therapy, occupational therapy, audiology, and behavior.
Our diagnostic staff assist with individual student evaluations to determine if your child requires special education or related services. Those services can range from "itinerant" services meaning that your child might come to the center for an individual session with a speech therapist, or he or she may qualify for a classroom placement. Transportation is provided free of charge if your child is determined eligible for an ECSE classroom.
We offer reverse mainstream options within some of the ECSE classrooms. This is an opportunity to pair "typically developing" students and ECSE students in a classroom together. This model consists of 6 typical peers along with 6 ECSE children. If you are interested in possibly enrolling your child into one of these spots, please contact us. Your child must be of preschool age to enroll into the program. It is helpful to have a free screening provided through the Parents as Teachers program so that we can have an overview of your child's abilities.
The early childhood program at Fox has a history of innovation and service dedicated to the families of our community. We were the first early childhood center to receive a promising practice award, which encompasses service learning or connecting with the community. Don Earl was also the first official cohort of early childhood centers in the nation to be recognized as a "National School of Character." Our program embeds "Positive Behavior Supports" into all aspects of our school day. Our PBS implementation was honored by receiving a "Gold" Certificate of Excellence through the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about our program. If you have any other questions, then please contact us so that we can assist.
Dr. Robert Townsley
Director of Early Childhood