Mass.gov
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Go to Selected Program Area
 Massachusetts State Seal
 News  School/District Profiles  School/District Administration  Educator Services  Assessment/Accountability  Family & Community  
 Special Communities  Adult Basic Education  Alternative Learning  Students & Families <  
>
>
 
 
   Training
 
   Documents
 
   Grants
 
   IDEA 2004
>
>
>
>
 
>
 
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>


Early Childhood Special Education

Building Blocks Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) services are designed for young children (aged 3-5) with disabilities who need specially designed instruction or related services and whose disability(ies) causes the children to be unable to participate in developmentally appropriate typical preschool activities. School districts are required by law to ensure that developmentally appropriate ESCE programs and services are available. ECSE programs and services ensure that all children with disabilities have a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) that is designed to meet their unique needs and enable them to make progress in acquiring knowledge and skills, improving social relationships, and learning to take action to meet their needs within the general education program.

A young child who is deemed eligible for special education receives services in the least restrictive environment (LRE), which can include his/her home, a child care setting, or a public school, as determined by the child's Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team. Services are provided at no cost to families through ECSE programs in public school districts throughout Massachusetts. Processes for referral for evaluation and determination of eligibility are the same as those for older, school-aged children with disabilities.

orange arrow
Vision and Mission
View HTML Page
Inclusion Policy Statement
orange arrow
Strategic Areas
ESE, in partnership with the Departments of Public Health and Early Education and Care, has identified the following three strategic areas for focus in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE):
  1. Improving systems to engage effectively with families
  2. Improving systems to assist transition from early intervention to prekindergarten and from prekindergarten to kindergarten
  3. Improving instruction to increase educational outcomes in:
    1. Social/Emotional Skills and Social Relationships;
    2. Acquiring and Using Knowledge and Skills; and
    3. Taking Appropriate Action to Meet Needs
orange arrow
Grants
View HTML Page
Fund Code 298: Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Program Improvement Grant

The purpose of this federal-grant program is to support school districts to ensure that eligible children with disabilities, aged 3-5, receive a free and appropriate public education that includes special education and related services designed to meet their individual needs, and that is provided in natural/least restrictive environments. This grant is intended to further district-level early childhood special education practices that align with priorities identified by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) and the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC).

View External Link
Fund Code 262: Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Entitlement Grant

This grant, administered by the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), provides funds to school districts and charter school districts to build capacity and to ensure that eligible 3, 4, and 5 year-old children with disabilities are appropriately identified as eligible for special education and receive developmentally appropriate special education and related services designed to meet their individual needs in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act - 2004 (IDEA-2004) and Massachusetts Special Education laws and regulations.

orange arrow
Upcoming Professional Development
Below are links to professional development offerings relevant to early childhood special educators from the Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education, Public Health, and Early Education and Care.
View External Link
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) Professional Development
View External Link
Department of Public Health (DPH) Early Intervention (EI) Professional Development
View External Link
Early Education and Care (EEC) Professional Development
orange arrow
The ESE Security Portal
The ESE Security Portal is used by district personnel to securely transmit information to and from the Department. The links below include information on how to submit special education Indicators 7 and 12 data to the Department via the security portal.
  1. Login to Security Portal
  2. Security Portal Instructions
    1. Indicator 7 Security Portal Instructions
    2. Indicator 12 Security Portal Instructions
orange arrow
State Agencies
The following agencies work with children with disabilities in early childhood. The Department of Public Health provides Early Intervention services to children birth through age two in their natural environment and the Department of Early Education and Care supports public and community-based early childhood programs throughout the Commonwealth.
View External Link
The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC)
View External Link
The Department of Public Health (DPH) Early Intervention (EI)
orange arrow
orange arrow
orange arrow
Frequently Asked Questions
These documents include answers to frequently asked questions about the transition from Early Intervention (EI) to Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) and special education Indicator 7: Preschool Outcomes.
  1. Frequently Asked Questions: Transition from Early Intervention to Special Education
  2. Indicator 7 Frequently Asked Questions
orange arrow
Special Education Related Resources
The following is a selection of special education and related sites that may be helpful to early childhood special educators and families.
View External Link
Building the Foundation for College and Career Success for Children from Birth through Grade 3
View HTML Page
Curriculum and Instruction
View HTML Page
Department Guidance Documents and Advisories
View HTML Page
English Language Learner (ELL) Guidance
View HTML Page
Family Engagement
View HTML Page
Guidance for Special Education Parent Advisory Councils
View HTML Page
Homelessness Guidance
View HTML Page
IEP Forms
View HTML Page
The Massachusetts Tiered System of Supports
View HTML Page
Office of Digital Learning


Last Updated: September 25, 2015
E-mail this page| Print View| Print Pdf
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Search · Site Index · Policies · Site Info · Contact ESE