Free Inclusive Practices Training & Technical Assistance for Public Preschool Programs

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) is pleased to announce a professional development opportunity designed specifically for Public Preschool Programs. This initiative will support a third cohort of public preschool educators and administrators in providing inclusive practices within high quality preschool environments for 4-year-olds.

This offering is available to any district in Maine with a Public Preschool Program. The 2021 cohort will consist of 3 classrooms of 6 participants each. Teams must include the preschool teacher, ed tech, principal, special ed director, elementary special ed teacher and a regional 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.

The DOE Inclusive Initiative is a collaboration with Child Development Services (CDS) and 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).  The partnership includes the University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (CCIDS) which has expertise in providing training and technical assistance around inclusion, equity and access.

The project faculty will deliver a continuum of learning and support activities through a blended learning model that equips teams to learn about, reflect on, practice and apply the information and strategies to build and strengthen instructional practices that promote high quality preschool environments. Each team will participate in and have access to:

  • Online training covering a range of topics with the objective of helping early educators develop a deeper understanding of how to promote inclusion in the classroom.
  • Consultation to expand on the training content and use the materials to personalize learning within your own setting.
  • A facilitated professional learning community (PLC) with other peers as “thinking partners” to share and explore topics and application strategies.
  • A suite of resources and tools to support this work.

Benefits of Participation for Maine Schools

Opportunities for administrators, teachers, educational technicians and CDS staff to:

  • Devote dedicated time as a team to focus on preschool pedagogy.
  • Develop a shared understanding of the components of high quality inclusive preschool classrooms.
  • Identify, plan and work toward a common goal to continue to support equity and excellence.
  • Gain access to other early care and education professional development opportunities.
  • Enhance teacher recruitment, retention and quality.
  • Receive certificates of contact hours which support certification renewal and/or local professional development requirements.

Please visit here to hear from past participants about their experiences in this initiative.

An informational lunch and learn meeting is scheduled for Monday May 17, 2021 at 11:15-12:15. Pre-registration is required and available here. A recording of this session will be made available for future viewing here.

Districts are asked to apply by June 4, 2021 to take advantage of this exciting professional development opportunity.  Notifications of acceptance will be provided by June 10, 2021.The tentative timeline of project requirements is outlined in the table below.

The project requirements include: Projected timeline:
Completing the On-demand training: Inclusive Environments in Public Pre-K. By August 18, 2021.
Participate in a half-day virtual orientation session. Mid-August 2021
Completing an 18 hour online training: Creating Inclusive Preschool Settings Classrooms. September-November 2021
Participate in 2 PLC’s scheduled as follow-up support during the online training. October 2021
Participate in consultation*
It may be necessary to align class coverage on the days of consultation for some period of time.*

  • 2 (1-2 hour) classroom based consultations (onsite or technology-based).
  • 2 (1-2 hour) administrative consultation (onsite or technology based)
October-November 2021
Participate in a wrap up meeting hosted by the DOE to evaluate the project and short district team presentations to showcase your learning. December 2021

The complete application is available at this link.

You may access this PDF version to preview the application prior to completing.

For more information, view the FAQ  or contact

Nicole Madore at Nicole.madore@maine.gov or

Marcy Whitcomb at Marcy.r.whitcomb@maine.gov