Guidance Documents Related to Preschool
The following publications related to Preschool are listed in chronological order. This page will be updated as new guidance is released.
The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) is accepting applications under the Workforce Retention Grant from eligible OCFS licensed/registered providers. The grant may be used to offer bonus payments to eligible existing staff, as well as provide funding to support recruitment of new staff. Approved preschool special education programs that are licensed/registered by OCFS and Article 47 day care centers permitted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) may be eligible to apply and receive funding for eligible staff working in their tuition-based programs or separate childcare programs. The application instructions and eligibility criteria are available on the OCFS Workforce Retention Grant webpage. The deadline for applications is September 15, 2023.
The purpose of this field advisory is to supplement and clarify existing New York State (NYS) and federal guidance pertaining to the expectations for the inclusion of preschool students with disabilities in prekindergarten programs operated or administered by a school district (PreK) including State-administered prekindergarten programs (As of the date of this memo, there are four State-Administered Prekindergarten programs for three- and four- year old children in New York State including Targeted Prekindergarten (TPK), Universal Prekindergarten (UPK), Statewide Universal Full-Day Prekindergarten (SUFDPK), and Federal-Funded Expanded Universal Prekindergarten) and district prekindergarten programs that are government-funded and free for those who attend it. The continued expansion of these early learning opportunities offers high-quality, developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate educational environments for young children to learn and grow. As of July 1, 2021, NYS will be investing $970 million into State-administered prekindergarten programs. This figure will most likely be $1 billion by the end of the 2023-24 school year due to expansion grants.
This memorandum provides updated guidance regarding the inclusion of mealtime when calculating the instructional hours for Preschool Special Class in an Integrated Setting (SCIS) and/or Special Class (SC) programs for three and four-year-old preschool students with disabilities. The New York State Education Department’s (NYSED) Office of Special Education (OSE) has determined that there are circumstances when mealtime may be counted as part of the daily instructional schedule for some preschool special education programs. For children attending a full-day class, mealtime may provide learning opportunities when included as part of the instructional day. These opportunities may include experiences with food, encouraging self-help skills, developing fine motor skills, language and vocabulary development and mealtime behavioral expectations. Mealtime can provide a natural environment for young learners to share in conversations that build relationships with peers and adults.
The purpose of the Special Education Itinerant Services for Preschool Children with Disabilities memo is to provide comprehensive policy guidance relating to Special Education Itinerant Services (SEIS) to ensure that Committees on Preschool Special Education (CPSE), municipalities, approved SEIS providers and parents of preschool children have a common understanding of the State’s laws, regulations and policy relating to individualized education program (IEP) development and implementation, SEIS provider responsibilities, and billing for SEIS sessions. SEIS provides preschool students with disabilities with specially-designed instruction in conjunction with regular early childhood programs or other child care settings selected by the parents.
The individual evaluation conducted by a multidisciplinary team, which consists of educational and medical professionals, enables the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) to determine whether or not a child has a disability and, if so, to what extent preschool special education programs and/or services are appropriate. For those students recommended to receive preschool special education, the individual evaluation provides the basis for developing the Individualized Education Program (IEP) that includes information about the child’s identified strengths and needs and recommended goals and objectives.
The purpose of the Guidelines for the Use of Speech-Language Telepractice in the Delivery of Related Services to Students with Disabilities is to provide important information regarding the use of telepractice in the delivery of speech and language related services. Speech-language telepractice is a remote service delivery model that utilizes telecommunications technology as the medium for the provision of speech and language services.
Qualifications of Psychologists Employed by Preschool Special Education Multidisciplinary Evaluation Programs Approved Pursuant to Section 4410 of the Education Law is in follow up to an advisory issued in October 2014 regarding the responsibility of multidisciplinary evaluation programs (MDEs) approved pursuant to section 4410 of the Education Law to ensure that they employ appropriately qualified psychologists to conduct evaluations of preschool students with disabilities in MDE programs.
The State’s Prior Written Notice forms may be used in their current Word format, or may be converted to another format, including a computerized format and may be inserted on school district letterhead. The form is available in English, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian and Spanish.
Reimbursement to Counties for Transportation Costs for Preschool Students with Disabilities contains information regarding the requirements for processing reimbursement claims by counties for the costs of transporting preschool students with disabilities pursuant to section 4410 of Education Law and the Part 200 Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. This memorandum also details the responsibilities of municipalities regarding the approval of certain transportation costs.
Promoting healthy and safe learning environments where students can receive the instruction and other supports they need to learn and achieve at high levels is one of the primary responsibilities of each school and is a priority of the New York State Education Department. Behavioral Interventions and Supports & Discipline Procedures for Students with Disabilities contains resources to support the use of positive behavioral supports and interventions and ensure students have access to safe and supportive environments conducive to learning, including Guidance on Functional Behavioral Assessments for Students with Disabilities.
The Guide to Quality Individualized Education Program (IEP) Development and Implementation provides important information for Committees on Preschool Special Education and Committees on Special Education on federal and State requirements relating to IEPs that must be considered in developing instructionally relevant and legally correct IEPs for students with disabilities.
Information for Parents of Preschool Students with Disabilities Ages 3-5 includes the following:
- The Referral Process
- The Evaluation Process
- The CPSE Recommendation and the Individualized Education Program (IEP)
- Programs and Services
- Progress Reports and Annual Review
- Additional Information
Many children who receive Early Intervention Program (EIP) services may also be eligible for special education programs and services as preschoolers. In this case, several key dates are defined in law and regulation relating to the action steps within the transition planning process from EIP to preschool special education programs and/or services. Calculating Dates to Plan Transition from Early Intervention to Preschool Special Education includes an online tool to assist interested parties in identifying those key dates for individual children.
The Transition of Children at Age Three from the New York State Department of Health Early Intervention Program to the State Education Department Preschool Special Education Program or Other Early Childhood Services provides comprehensive policies and procedures to assist Early Intervention Officials (EIOs), school districts, families, and service providers in ensuring the timely and effective transition of children from the Early Intervention Program (EIP) to preschool special education programs and services or other early childhood services. The guidance document also provides clear direction on implementation of statutory provisions enacted in the 2003 Legislative Session, which require children in the EIP who are potentially eligible for preschool special education programs and services to receive an eligibility determination from committees on preschool special education (CPSEs) by their third birthdays to continue to receive services beyond their third birthday. Parents of children in the EIP who are found eligible for preschool special education services can choose to either transition their children to preschool special education programs and services; or, to have their children remain in the EIP until they are no longer age-eligible for the EIP.
Clarification of the Use of Teachers of the Speech and Hearing Handicapped Working for 4410 Programs is a policy memorandum intended to clarify what services can be provided by a teacher of the speech and hearing handicapped (TSHH) to preschool students with disabilities through a special education program approved pursuant to §4410 of the Education Law, and which services require that the provider be fully licensed as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) pursuant to Article 159 of the Education Law.
The Guide for Determining Eligibility and Special Education Programs and/or Services for Preschool Students with Disabilities provides guidance to preschool evaluators and members of the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) in developing individualized education programs for preschool students with disabilities that will result in student achievement and growth. It is important to identify the types of services, including the frequency, intensity, duration and location of services that are consistent with the strengths and needs of the child. This guide should be viewed as a planning tool for discussion and decision-making about the individual needs of each preschool child with a disability.
The individual evaluation is the first step a Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) must take to determine if a preschool child meets the eligibility requirements for special education programs and services and to develop a student's individualized education program (IEP). This memorandum provides information regarding evaluations of three- and-four-year old children suspected of having disabilities, including requirements for parental consent, timelines for conducting evaluations, evaluation components and reimbursement procedures.
Section 4410(4) of the Education Law requires that the documentation of the evaluation include all assessment reports and a summary report of the findings of the evaluation on a form prescribed by the Commissioner and a detailed statement of the preschool child's individual needs. Guidance regarding the Updated Preschool Student Evaluation Summary Report Form and Clarification on New Provisions Required Pursuant to the Reauthorization of IDEA includes information about:
- required documentation,
- IDEA protections for parents,
- IDEA requirements,
- functional behavior assessments, and
The New York State Education Department has finalized a revised "Memorandum of Mutual Understanding" with the Region II Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Supportive Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; the New York State Head Start Association and the Quality Improvement Center for Disabilities of New York University. This revision replaces the most recent agreement which was signed April 1991. The revised agreement represents the mutual support and sharing of personnel and information resources that have been occurring between the Department and the Head Start Community in New York State for close to 20 years. It reinforces the original 1982 agreement's basic premise that coordination of services between school districts and Head Start Programs will maximize resources for the benefit of preschool children with disabilities and their families. A copy of the agreement is attached for your information.