Early Childhood Special Education Program

  • The Early Childhood special education program for the Providence School Department provides and oversees services for children ages 3 to 5 who experience developmental delays or other disabilities. The Early Childhood program has five main functions:


    1. Collaborate with early intervention to transition children from infant services to school district special education services as mandated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
    2. Maintain Child Find activities as mandated under IDEA.
    3. Assess children for eligibility for special education and related services.
    4. Provide a continuum of educational placements for preschool students based on the students’ least restrictive environment.
    5. Design and implement special education services (Individualized Education Program or IEP) for preschool students.


    The services include:

    • Specially designed instruction
    • Speech and language services
    • Physical therapy services
    • Occupational therapy services
    • Adaptive physical education services
    • Vision services
    • Other services as appropriate


    In order to be eligible for any of these services, your child must be referred to the Office of Special Populations, be evaluated and must qualify for service as per RI regulations.


    When determining the level of service, we must look at the strengths and needs of the child and serve the child in the least restrictive environment, or as close to the natural pre-kindergarten setting as possible.


    All of Providence Public Schools pre-kindergarten classes align their curriculum with the Rhode Island Early Learning and Development Standards.



    To schedule a screening appointment, parents should call (401) 278-0517 or email childoutreachscreening@ppsd.org. If parents have any additional questions regarding the program or the lottery, they may contact:

    DeAnna Cotoia, Pre-K Program Manager