The Maine Department of Education (DOE) has received a grant from the US Department of Education to support public preschool teachers, special educators, principals and special education directors in providing high quality classroom environments and inclusion practices for 4-year-olds.
The program is being offered through Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network (MRTQ PDN), a University of Maine System partnership between University of Southern Maine (USM) and University of Maine (UMaine), that includes the University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (CCIDS) which has expertise in providing training and technical assistance around inclusionary practices.
MRTQ PDN will contract with Maine DOE and partner with Child Development Services to provide online training and technical assistance to 3 classrooms of 6 participants each. Teams must include the preschool teacher, ed tech, principal, special education director, elementary special education teacher, and a CDS consultant or teacher. The purpose of team participation is to ensure consistent understanding and application of the course content so that high quality inclusive practices will be supported and sustained. All team members will receive certificates of contact hours which support certification renewal and/or local professional development requirements.
This project will serve as a pilot to help Maine DOE gather information on what schools need to best support all preschool age children, including those with special needs and disabilities.
Upon completion of training and technical assistance, each public preschool classroom teacher who has participated will receive $1500 in mini-grants for materials and supplies to support high quality preschool inclusionary environments.