Children learn more during the first years of their life than at any other time. As a result, early detection and treatment of developmental delays is critical. The Early Education Center has a staff of educational, developmental, and health professionals to provide individualized care so that children and their families have every advantage possible in those early years.
The Early Education Center is owned and operated by Hutchinson Public Schools USD 308 and is licensed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Interagency support from USD 308, the Reno County Education Cooperative and the Training and Evaluation Center of Hutchinson, Inc. allows the Early Education Center to provide an array of services for children from birth to age five in Reno County.
In accordance with Federal law and United States Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.
Special Beginnings is a program for premature and high-risk infants and their families that provides educational developmental expertise through a supportive multi-disciplinary team. It is made possible by the collaboration of the Early Education Center, the Reno County Health Department and Hutchinson Regional Medical Center.
Early intervention may be the key to overcoming what might otherwise be serious limitations. A child who is born premature, or has other early signs of developmental delays will work with a highly-qualified staff member to help their little one have the best chance for success.
Services are provided at no cost to children from birth to 2 years old and their families residing in Reno County.
Parents participate in their child’s developmental program and learn intervention techniques thanks to the infant/toddler program for children from birth to age three.
The child’s family can see firsthand how teaching and therapy techniques can be incorporated into everything from routine household activities to playtime. Including the family in the child’s program helps diminish some of the concerns experienced by parents of children with special needs.
Interaction between children with special needs and children whose development and behavior is age appropriate is the key to success of the Early Education Center’s preschool.
A half-day preschool session offers activities for children from age 3 to 5. It provides children with experiences and interactions that help them adapt more easily to the structured environment of an elementary school when they transition to kindergarten. Physical, occupational and speech/language therapy are incorporated into normal classroom activities.
Children in the preschool benefit from the creative, positive learning environment. They also become more sensitive to the needs of others and learn to accept differences among all people.
Children who pass a developmental screening are eligible to attend the preschool program and pay tuition. The children identified with special needs are eligible for state-funded special education services.
Developmental Screenings are available for children from birth to 5 years old who live in Reno County. This free service enables professionals to assess your child’s general growth and development. The results of the screening may point out areas which need attention – from eyesight and hearing to communication skills.
A developmental screening will require approximately 45 minutes. The areas screened include: hearing, vision, balance/coordination, health, speech/language, thinking/reasoning, self-help/social.
Children under age three require signed parental consent before the screening. Call for an appointment. For children who are ages birth to 32 months, call 620-615-5863. For children who are ages 33 months to 5 years of age, call 620-615-5850.
The ability to communicate effectively enhances all aspects of a child’s life. For children with mild speech delays, an outpatient speech and language program is available. It provides speech services to children from age three to five. Therapy is administered one-on-one with the child and a speech/language therapist.
Community services provided by staff from the Early Education Center reach eligible three to five-year-old children in their preschool or day-care setting throughout Reno County. Services offered include speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, visually impaired services, orientation mobility services and early childhood special education services.
Community services staff members work closely with the staff at a child’s preschool or day-care center to integrate the child’s therapy into his/her daily routine. In addition to providing on-site services, the staff also offers free consultation to child-care providers who have children with special needs enrolled in their programs.