Preschool Instruction for the Exceptional
The PIE Program is a self-contained early childhood special education preschool program housed in the Peter Cooper Elementary School for students aged three- to five-years-old. The PIE Program program is committed to working on each student's development in order to reach his/her academic, behavioral, and social/emotional potential in preparation for Kindergarten and beyond. The PIE Program is instructed by a special education teacher and two classroom paraprofessionals.
The PIE program has two sessions to address the needs of our early learners. The am session is from 8:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., Monday through Thursday. On Fridays the am session students and staff attend The Center for Family Resource’s preschool program to facilitate social skills within a general education classroom. The pm session runs from 12:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The pm session students are able to participate with Kindergarten classes for music, library, and school assemblies in order to facilitate social skills in a general education environment as well.
The PIE Program utilizes the HighScope curriculum which emphasizes that children’s interest and choices are the first steps in the learning process. The students engage in both individual and social play, participate in small and large group activities, assist with clean-up, socialize during snack, develop self-care skills and engage in fine and gross motor activities.
School-based Speech and Language, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy services are provided as per each student’s IEP.
Speech-Language Pathologists may address the following areas: articulation, expressive / receptive language, voice, fluency, conversational skills, and auditory processing skills.
Occupational Therapists may address the following areas: fine motor skills, sensory motor integration, visual / perceptual deficits, and assistive technology.
Physical Therapists may address the following areas: postural control, balance, strength and stability, motor control and coordination, endurance, functional mobility and accessibility within the educational environment, and gross motor skills.
Extended School Year (ESY):
The PIE program offers a 20-day Extended School Year program that runs during the month of July, which continues to address students' individual needs. The Extended School Year program helps avoid summer regression and makes for a smoother transition to the new school year and Kindergarten. Enrollment in the ESY program is determined by each student’s IEP team.
Family Communication / Collaboration:
Communication with families is critical in meeting the needs of all students. Teachers regularly keep in touch with families regarding both academic and social/emotional and behavioral progress. Progress is formally shared three times a year via report cards and progress reports on how students are developing towards meeting their individualized goals and objectives.
If you are a Ringwood resident and interested in having your child attend the PIE program please send a signed letter of referral to the Director of Special Services, Mr. Steven Fiedeldey, at 130 Valley Road, Ringwood NJ 07456.
After your letter is received, you will be assigned a case manager who will contact you to arrange a hearing/vision screening for your child performed by the Peter Cooper Elementary School nurse, followed by an identification meeting with the IEP team .
Question: Can non-Ringwood students attend the PIE Program?
Answer: Yes! The PIE program accepts tuition-in students from outside of Ringwood. Please have your current case manager contact the Director of Special Services for more information regarding intake.
Question : Does my child need a specific classification or diagnosis to attend the PIE program?
Answer : All preschool students, aged three- to five-years old who are eligible for special education and related services are classified as Preschooler with a Disability. Some preschoolers who are diagnosed on the Autism spectrum may also be eligible to attend the REALM program. This decision is made based on your child's individual needs at an IEP meeting.
Question : What happens to my child's special education eligibility when my he/she turns five-years-old and is ready for Kindergarten?
Answer : Since every child aged three- to five-years-old is classified as a Preschooler with a Disability, each child is re-evaluated by the Child Study Team during the school year prior to Kindergarten to see if he/she would be eligible for special education and related services as a school-aged child.
These classifications according to Special Education Law are: auditorily impaired, autistic, intellectually disabled, communication impaired, emotionally disturbed, multiply disabled, deaf/blindness, orthopedically impaired, other health impaired, social maladjustment, specific learning disability, traumatic brain injury, or visually impaired.