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IEP Requirements for Children Ages 3-5


Explanation This section describes specific requirements that are applicable only to children ages 3 through 5 in preschool or kindergarten.

While an IEP for a child ages three through five has particular information that must be addressed, IEP Teams will also need to attend to the guidance described in the other sections of this website.
IEP Team Member: General Education Teacher for Children aged 3-5 The IEP team for each child with a disability must include at least one general education teacher of the child if the child is, or may be, participating in the general education environment.

The involvement of the general education teacher is essential for ensuring each child’s educational experience is a success. It is important for IEP Teams to consider and discuss the services and supports during the development, review and revision of an IEP in order to enable a child to be educated with children without disabilities to the maximum extent appropriate.

The general education teacher is an individual who holds a valid practitioner's license issued by the Board of Educational Examiners under Chapter 272 and holds an endorsement that includes prekindergarten for a preschool child or kindergarten for a kindergarten child.

The general education teacher may be employed by a private provider or other public agency such as a community preschool, child care center or Head Start program as long as they hold the appropriate teaching endorsement. The teacher is not required to be an employee of the resident or attending district.

General Education Endorsements for Early Childhood Education are:
100 Teacher – Prekindergarten through grade three, including special education;
103 Teacher – Prekindergarten through kindergarten;
106 Teacher – Prekindergarten through grade three; and
102 Teacher – Elementary classroom kindergarten through grade six (for children in kindergarten).

A person may serve in more than one role. A teacher may serve as the special education teacher and general education teacher if the individual holds the appropriate endorsements.
LRE Considerations for Preschool Children LRE considerations an IEP team must address for preschool children include:
  • special education and support/related services the child needs;
  • supplementary aides and supports needed by the child;
  • early childhood program (general education environments) in which:
    • appropriate activities occur for children of similar age without disabilities;
    • general education curriculum is comprehensive; and
    • at least 50% of the children are of similar age without disabilities;
  • programs in which quality preschool program standards are implemented; and
  • services and environments that are appropriate and provide educational benefit for the child.

Iowa Administrative Rules for Special Education: 281--Iowa Administrative Code 41.51(8)

General Education Environment For preschool children who require special education, an early childhood program (general education environment) is the environment where appropriate activities occur for children of similar age without disabilities. The early childhood program must include at least 50% of children of similar age without disabilities.
Appropriate Activities Appropriate activities mean those activities that are consistent with age-relevant abilities or milestones that typically developing children of the same age would be performing or would have achieved. The activities and teaching practices are based upon knowledge of how children develop and learn and are responsive to individual children’s learning strengths, interests, and needs.
General Education Curriculum The general education curriculum for preschool children is a research–based or evidence–based written framework that is:
  • comprehensive,
  • addresses the needs of the whole child, and
  • provides a guide for decision making about content, instructional methods, and child assessment.

Iowa Early Learning Standards 2012 serve as a guide for learning and development of young children across various environments.

Preschool Program Standards High quality research-based early learning experiences are essential to building a foundation for achieving positive outcomes for children. The Iowa Department of Education (DE) is committed to assuring quality learning opportunities for young children are being implemented in programs.

Therefore, ECSE and early childhood programs serving children on an IEP must implement one of the following Preschool Program Standards:
Examples of Early Childhood Programs IEP Teams are encouraged to collaborate with community partners to provide early learning opportunities for children on an IEP to participate in quality early childhood programs.

The following are some of the early childhood programs that meet one of the required preschool program standards:
Supporting Implementation of IEP Research and evidence based practices support serving young children with and without disabilities in the same class; however, this alone does not guarantee that children will achieve positive early childhood outcomes. It is essential to support the development, implementation and ongoing monitoring of a child’s IEP.

Research indicates that early childhood staff need the following support:
  • training about:
    • teaching children with disabilities; and
    • developing individualized goals with high expectations; and
    • implementing appropriate activities to meet children’s needs;
  • frequent and ongoing assistance from ECSE teachers and support service specialists and experts, which involves the specialist observing the class, providing suggestions, showing the teacher how to use interventions, and giving feedback;
  • regular time to consult with ECSE teachers and support service specialists to plan activities and interventions;
  • low child-to-staff ratio, either by reducing the number of children or adding paraeducators;
  • support from the IEP Team to implement individualized intervention strategies and monitor the child's progress frequently and adjust the strategies as needed;
  • classrooms that have the adequate space, equipment, and materials that are accessible to the child with disabilities; and
  • parental participation.
Additional Resources The following resources provide additional information for IEP Teams to assist in the development, implementation and monitoring of a child’s IEP

Early Childhood Inclusion Brochure

Supporting Preschoolers in the Least Restrictive Environment

Explanation of Early Childhood Outcomes (ECO) Early Childhood Outcomes (ECO) is a federal reporting requirement established by the Office of Special Education Programs (January, 2006). The information from the ECO is used to document the effectiveness of Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) services in enhancing preschool children’s development.

The DE utilizes many of the resources developed by the Early Childhood Outcomes (ECO) Center at:

The IEP Teams, including families, must complete the ECO Summary annually to report on a child’s current level of functioning and progress made while receiving Early Childhood Special Education services. The ECO areas represent functional skills and behaviors that young children need to be successful in everyday activities and routines, which include the following three areas:
  1. Positive social-emotional skills (including social relationships);
  2. Acquisition and use of knowledge and skills (including early language/communication and early literacy); and
  3. Use of appropriate behaviors to meet their needs (including self-help and motor skills).

Early Childhood Outcomes Summary Form

When must an ECO Summary be completed? The ECO Summary must be completed at Initial IEP meetings, IEP Reviews and Reevaluation meetings.

The ECO Summary must be completed when children:
  • receive ECSE instructional and/or support only services (e.g. Speech);
  • receive special education services in both the ECSE and Kindergarten settings;
  • transition from ECSE to kindergarten services; and
  • move out of state or exit ECSE services due to inability to contact or locate the family.
The final ECO Summary is completed with the IEP Team when a child leaves or exits ECSE services (instructional or support). The final ECO Summary must be completed ninety (90) calendar days prior to the time a child no longer receives ECSE services.

Example: If a child in ECSE is transitioning to kindergarten for the following school year, the ECO Summary is completed no earlier than ninety (90) calendar days prior to the last day of the current school year. For example, if the school year ends on May 30th, the ECO Summary must be completed no earlier than and after March 2.
ECO Summary: Comparison to Peers or Standards The IEP Teams use a 7-point rating scale to decide the extent a child functions in ways considered age-appropriate with regard to the ECO areas.
An outcome rating is determined based on a child’s:
  • Current level of functioning demonstrated across settings and situations;
  • Functioning using assistive technology or special accommodations, if applicable; and
  • Performance of skills and behaviors compared to age appropriate expectations.

Early Childhood Outcomes Summary Form with Comparison Section Highlighted

The following tools may assist IEP Teams in determining a child’s rating:

Decision Tree for ECO Summary Rating Discussions

Alignment with Iowa’s Early Learning Standards and Guidance for Discussing the ECO Areas

ECO Summary: Progress At IEP Reviews and Reevaluations, IEP Teams determine if the child has gained any new skills or behaviors while receiving ECSE services. At any Initial IEP Meeting, IEP Teams will check “Not Applicable because this is the child’s Initial IEP Meeting” on the ECO Summary.

A child’s progress is determined based on any of the following:
  • Acquisition of a new skill or behavior;
  • More independently demonstrates mastery of a skill or behavior;
  • Progresses toward achieving annual goals; or
  • Improves the quality when performing a skill or behavior.

Early Childhood Outcomes Summary Form with Progress Section Highlighted

ECO Summary: Supporting Evidence for Outcome Rating and Progress The IEP Teams are required to use a process referred to as RIOT, to document supporting evidence to determine a child’s level of functioning and progress.

RIOT stands for:
R - Record reviews of existing medical reports and evaluations;
I - Interviews with parents, caregivers, teachers and service providers;
O - Observations in various settings and situations; and
T - Tests and Assessments, including research-based criterion-referenced, curriculum-based or play-based assessments.

The purpose of RIOT is to provide information needed for decision-making in an accurate and efficient way. Sufficiency of valid and reliable information is the key principle, not the number of methods used.

Early Childhood Outcomes Summary Form with Evidence Section Highlighted

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on May 25, 2018 at 9:42am.