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Early Learning Center

Specialized Services in a Special Place

Preschool: 3-4-year-olds
Transitional Kindergarten: 5-6-year-olds

A girl in the preschool program pets a pony.
A girl in the Early Learning Center pets a pony.

Every child's early learning experiences should be full of art projects, music, social activities, and building the skills that will lead to academic success in the coming years. Perkins Early Learning Center ensures that our students experience is no different. All the elements of play and early education are at work in our Early Learning Center, but they are enhanced and modified to best address the unique needs and gifts of children with visual impairments with or without additional disabilities.

The specialized services of teachers of children with visual impairments, orientation and mobility specialists, and both a clinical and paraprofessional staff knowledgeable about visual impairments and additional disabilities makes the Perkins Early Learning Center a truly unique setting. Early childhood is a time to continue to build the foundational skills for later success in learning. Through an emphasis on the following expanded core curriculum areas: sensory skills (vision, touch, hearing); communication and early literacy skills; social skills; the use of assistive/adaptive technology; orientation and mobility; self care skills; and play skills, the Early Learning Center develops skills for later academic and/or functional success.

The program emphasizes the importance of considering children with visual impairments and multiple disabilities, first and foremost, as children with the same needs all children have for love, acceptance, exploration, and a sense of competence. Close communication and planning among parents, professionals and the local school system are paramount in order to provide appropriate individualized services.

We focus on three major objectives:

  • Assessing each child's needs in order to create a individualized program of education
  • Working cooperatively with parents on a coordinated home-school program
  • Working closely with clinical specialists at Perkins so that each child gets the developmentally appropriate assistance he or she might need

The keys to our success:

  • A 1:2 staff to pupil ratio to ensure individualized attention
  • Teachers who are specially trained to work with students who are blind, visually impaired, or deafblind with or without multiple disabilities
  • A variety of on-campus facilities and clinical specialists including audiologists, speech and language therapists, occupational and physical therapists, developmental psychologists, orientation and mobility specialists and music therapists
  • On-going family consultation to ensure consistency in attaining developmental and educational goals
  • Outreach services, including developmental and functional vision evaluations for children
  • Consultation and trainings for outside agencies who work with the visually impaired
  • Monthly parent meetings/observation days

For more information about Perkins Early Learning Center, contact EarlyLearningCenter@Perkins.org. You can also visit our Admissions page and view our Early Learning Center Photo Gallery.

Click to download an early literacy presentation by Tom Miller, Educational Partnerships Supervisor (PowerPoint (requires Microsoft PowerPoint) or plain text).