The Preschool Transition: Choosing a School and Preparing for Your First IEP

Article
Aug. 2, 2021Updated Oct. 7, 2022
Congratulations! Your little one is growing up and getting ready for preschool. You may be feeling simultaneously excited, terrified, and overwhelmed. Selecting the right preschool for your child can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not yet sure what to look for. What type of classroom do you envision your child thriving in? What questions should you ask of potential schools? How do you start working with your school and other professionals to create an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for your child? Read on below — we’ve got you covered!

How to Choose a Preschool

Preparing for Your First Preschool IEP Meeting

IEP Basics

In this clip, Education Advocate Lisa Carey breaks down what an IEP does and how a strength-based IEP can only benefit your child.

IEP to-do list

You should receive a request from the school or district inviting you to the IEP meeting, or you can request one yourself. Let the school know if you will be bringing a friend, specialist, attorney, or advocate with you. (You can read about the differences between special education attorneys and advocates here).

Bring the following items to the meeting — it’s a good idea to create a binder to organize all the documents you’ll need at the meeting so they’ll be easy to find while you’re there. Here is a detailed list of what to include in your binder that is specific to preschool.

We recommend you begin preparing for your meeting two days before by:

  • Making a note to pack your laptop/device or favorite pen and a pad of paper.
  • Checking with the person you asked to accompany you (perhaps they can take notes for you!)
  • If you plan to record the meeting, write the school to let them know you will be recording the meeting at least 24 hours beforehand.

Say what!? 5 myths about IEPs

Do you have any questions about your child’s upcoming IEP, or any of your own IEP myths or stories to share? We’d love to know!
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Contents


Overview

How to Choose a Preschool

Preparing for Your First Preschool IEP Meeting

IEP Basics

IEP to-do list

Say what!? 5 myths about IEPs

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Related Parent Questions

Does my child need an IEP in preschool?
All students who receive special education services must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP), and all IEPs must ensure that the student has access to a free, appropriate public education (FAPE). This includes preschool if your child is eligible for special education services.
How do I request a draft of the IEP?
Write to the program specialist (or the administrator in charge of the IEP), the teacher, and/or the case worker to request a draft of the IEP at least two weeks in advance of the meeting; you can request that the district provide the draft no less than three days before the meeting.
What are the pros and cons of sending a letter of parent concerns before an IEP?
If you get along well with your child’s IEP team, a parental concerns letter can help expedite the meeting and move things along. However, sending the letter ahead of time can allow the district more time to prepare to deny your requests.

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