When you have a child with developmental needs, it’s hard to know where to turn. You want them to get the best education possible, but you also need them to be safe, happy, and working on their developmental milestones. With a therapeutic program, there is a “whole child” approach.
It is important to get to know each child as an individual and care for what makes them unique. The importance of one-on-one time and individualized treatment that addresses specific needs is the pivotal purpose of specialized programs like therapeutic preschools.
What is Therapeutic Preschool?
Therapeutic preschool programs are designed for students that are on the spectrum. They provide a supportive and inclusive environment for children of all developmental needs.
These preschools strategically incorporate individual therapy goals into each lesson plan. Children will participate in structured activities planned around certain goals. Your child will also have free-play opportunities so they can utilize their newly learned skills in social situations.
This type of preschool program is designed to provide quality, individualized therapy in a small group setting. The goal of therapeutic preschools is to strengthen each child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development while increasing their independence and self-advocacy skills.
How does a therapeutic preschool differ from other types of preschool?
There are three key differences between a therapeutic preschool and other “traditional” preschools. While there is no right or wrong answer, there are schools that fit your family’s needs more than others.
Therapeutic preschools offer individual sensory practices for your child’s needs. Every child has a unique way of expressing their sensory concerns, and all children operate at different levels of severity and symptoms. Having your child’s needs directly addressed increases your child’s receptiveness to therapies, such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, and other academic advances.
Therapeutic preschools have a “whole” child approach. Standard or “traditional” preschools tend to have a one-size fits all approach to education. This type of approach can cause your child to experience a larger educational gap, trouble relating to their peers, and lower self-esteem. With a “whole child” approach each child receives individualized care, and one-on-one attention.
Therapeutic preschool teachers have specialized degrees that match your child’s needs. “Traditional” preschool staff may lack higher education degrees that are necessary for understanding, and working with your child’s sensory issues, motor development, and speech therapy. At therapeutic preschools, the staff that guides your child throughout the day may have Masters Degrees and/or Board Certifications in Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and ABA therapy. This level of mastery ensures that your child is having their needs met by professionals, with experience with whom you can trust.
Who attends a therapeutic preschool?
Many children who may otherwise struggle in standard preschools thrive within a specialized preschool program. Evidence suggests that children with developmental needs and speech-language concerns excel within this type of educational setting. A child struggling in several developmental areas can make dramatic progress with solely language skill therapy. In addition, occupational therapy and developmental therapy create well-rounded programs to bring children to a level of appropriate learning and skill. All of these ingredients make a hearty therapeutic school program that addresses the needs of children beyond the scope of a standard preschool.
What to look for in a Therapeutic Preschool
When looking for a therapeutic preschool, you want to be sure that the program’s goals align with your family and child’s goals. You also want to make sure that there is flexibility in the programs, so you can make sure that your child has access to the resources and programs that best fit their needs. It is also important that the staff is empathetic, professional, and well-educated. The student-to-teacher ratio is also vital, as it determines how much attention each student receives from their teachers.
Therapeutic preschools offer many benefits for children with learning difficulties or behavioral issues, including smaller class sizes. Therapeutic preschools also offer structured group activities as well as unstructured group activities; both of these types of learning environments help increase attention span.
At Lumiere, we believe that a therapeutic preschool is more than just a place to learn and play. We believe that it’s also a place where you can feel safe, and where you can be yourself.
What types of services might you find in a therapeutic preschool?
Our Therapeutic Preschool program is a supportive and inclusive environment for children of all developmental needs. Our small group setting allows for optimal therapy for each child while participating in activities with peers. Every child who enrolls in our therapeutic preschool also has a therapist with them throughout the entire day, giving them 1:1 support for every moment they experience with us.
Our curriculum is based on Early Learning and developmental standards, which offers a wide range of activities that focus on social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. We provide a comprehensive curriculum that focuses on social-emotional development, language and literacy skills, self-help skills, motor skills, and sensory processing.
We also ensure that your child experiences support across all of our therapeutic disciplines including physical therapy, speech therapy, ABA, occupational therapy, developmental therapy, and behavioral therapy. Our therapists work closely with each other to design lessons that support each child’s individual needs and goals.
Our highly trained therapists use a variety of methods to help children learn, including play therapy and sensory integration. They also work with parents on ways to support their children at home so that their children can continue to reach their goals even after they leave us for the day. Our program is completely customized to fit your child’s needs and is designed to provide a foundation for life-long learning and development. And the best part? Our preschool can be covered by insurance!
Therapeutic preschool is designed to improve social, emotional, and behavioral development while also teaching academic skills from a young age. When you set your child up for success, it’s impossible to overlook their growth not only in academics but in their confidence as well.
If you are ready to watch your child blossom and grow into the amazing little person you know they are – schedule a free consultation with our specialists here at Lumiere. We are a safe pressure-free environment here to answer your questions, support your family and make magic together.