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Alice Peck Early Learning Center, Hamden

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35 Hillfield Rd
Hamden, CT 06518
Tel: 203-407-2010      
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January 2013.  Alice Peck Early Learning Center really requires a 2-part review as the parental requirements/expectations may vary depending on the reason for enrollment. It is an integrated preschool with typical students (those with no developmental delays) and students with various special needs (speech delay, physical issues, down syndrome, autism, etc.)

Alice Peck runs like a regular preschool, and follows the Connecticut benchmarks (what the state requires students to learn).  They have 4 speech-language pathologists and either 2 or 3 school psychologists, among various other multi-disciplinary support staff (OT, PT, BCBA, etc), they have a wealth of resources in which to draw upon and a good amount of expertise in child development.  The Administrator, Ms. Copolla, knows every student by name and knows their skill level.  She seems to really put a lot of thought into deciding which classroom a specific child belongs in.

The staff is trained in using strategies to encourage the development of language and social skills, and facilitate peer interactions.  These are skills that are beneficial for all children, whether they have special needs or not.  So in addition to the academic curriculum, typical children can really gain a lot, as well as learn acceptance of peers who may look or behave differently – an incredibly important life skill!  The school day is nicely structured and students may follow a picture schedule which indicates the upcoming activities (tabletop activities, yoga, circle, snack, centers, recess, etc).  Gym and Music are provided 1 day per week. In each class there is usually 1 teacher and often more than 1 para-professional – so it’s a quite a good student-teacher ratio. Overall, I think if you have a typical child they would benefit greatly from the environment provided by this school.

For a parent who has a child with special needs and is receiving special education services through an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), there is a completely different level of requirements for the teachers to follow (in addition the regular curriculum) that does not apply to the typical students.  While the staff generally does a good job in targeting IEP objectives, parental involvement and regular follow-up is important to make sure the objectives are appropriate and to make sure your child is making progress at a level that’s satisfactory to you.  While I’ve found the staff to be very responsive to concerns brought up, and very accommodating to changes requested, all of the teachers have a large workload and some teachers may be more prone to ‘burnout’, so it’s necessary to follow up with staff to make sure your input is addressed and recommendations are implemented otherwise it’s easy for staff to fall behind.  Some level of advocacy on the part of the parent is important to optimize your child’s progress. I think the special education program is good, and I think the staff really does try hard and has the best interests of the children in mind but there’s room for improvement, which is why it’s important for parents to be involved.

Overall, I found the children to be happy and have a great relationship with the staff. It’s a good school to transition to ‘real’ school from. Lyla K., parent

December 2012.  Alice Peck is a pre-K for kids with special needs in Hamden. However, half of the kids are neurotypical (normally developed) and parents who are interested in enrolling their kids to this school need to contact the school themselves. I would say the general atmosphere there is friendly and positive. My kid has had a lot of fun there. Daniel K., parent

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