• About Jefferson

    • Built in 1958 as an elementary school
    • 2/3 (66%) of students have some type of a special need or disability
    • Early childhood education for 3 & 4 year olds in the District
    • Capacity: 289
    • Enrollment at Jefferson: 276 (As of January 2016)
    • Early childhood enrollment at additional school sites due to space constraints: 99 (January 2016)
    What early childhood programs are offered in District 200?
    • Instructional - for children with special education needs
    • Bilingual Instructional - for children with special education needs who speak the same language other than English
    • Blended Classrooms - for children with special education needs and typical peers 
    • Phonology - for children with significant speech issues
    • Speech - for children with mild speech/language issues
    • Preschool Expansion/Headstart- for children with special education needs and at-risk peers
    • Tuition - children who are typically developing to promote critical areas of development and kindergarten preparation
    Does early childhood education make a difference for children?
    • The highest rate of brain development occurs during the first five years of a child’s life. Research demonstrates that the early years are a particularly sensitive period in development which lays a foundation for later success in the areas of cognitive functioning, self-regulation, social skills, behavior, and physical health.
    • For every $1 invested in early childhood education $7 to $10 is saved on remedial education, health and criminal justice expenditures. Investing in early learning produces great returns to individuals and society in better education, health, economic and social outcomes - not only saving taxpayers money, but increasing economic productivity.
    • Approximately 90% to 95% of children exiting Jefferson attend kindergarten at their neighborhood school. Many students require a lower level of special education service support and some children no longer require special education services.
    Why does District 200 have an early childhood program?
    Federal and State mandates require school districts to provide an appropriate public education for children with special education needs beginning on their third birthday. 

    What is the “least restrictive environment?”
    Districts are mandated to educate children with special needs in the least restrictive environment (LRE). The LRE is an age-appropriate environment with typically developing peers to the maximum extent appropriate. In addition, districts must also ensure a continuum of placements to meet a wide range of needs for children with disabilities.

    Are there classes for children without special education needs?

    Jefferson offers a tuition-based program which is open to ALL residents of District 200. Families of typically developing peers pay tuition to attend the program making their education cost neutral to the District. Blended classes are primarily comprised of typically developing peers and include some children with special needs. 

    What other services are provided at the early childhood level?
    We provide free early childhood education screening for children between the ages of three through five who reside within our attendance area. Approximately 350 to 400 children are screened each year with approximately 200 evaluations conducted for those children identified as having potential learning difficulties. 
    We also offer a free online screening tool, the Ages & Stages Questionnaire, for parents to know if their children are meeting the developmental milestones identified as appropriate to their age level.

    Why the growth in the Early Childhood Program?

    More children are being identified with special education needs and disabilities at an earlier age due to availability of screening. An increased number of parents are seeking help due to an increased awareness that the earlier interventions increase the likelihood of the child’s current and future success.

    How is the Jefferson ECC Program different from other preschool programs in the area?
    Teachers are triple certified in Early Childhood Education, Early Childhood Special Education and Bilingual/English as a Second Language. Specialists such as speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, social workers and psychologists are on staff and on-site. Our curriculum is aligned with the Illinois Early Learning Standards and progress is monitored through Teaching Strategies GOLD. We provide direct instruction in the area of social emotional learning. Our parent association offers activities for enrichment and family fun.