Environment is a key factor in determining an appropriate classroom setting for your child. But the teaching staff is one of the most important criteria in determining the “right” environment. This checklist serves as your guide when visiting a classroom, so you will want to review and bring it with you during your scheduled visit.
Classroom Staff and Interaction
â˜ Do classroom staff address the children with warmth and support, and encourage active participation of each child? Do they interact with all students?
â˜ Are all of the students actively engaged?
â˜ Are the staff accommodating to students’ individual differences and needs?
â˜ If one-to-one support is provided for students, how does it work?
â˜ What type of training and education does the classroom staff receive?
â˜ How do staff typically transition children into the classroom? Would you be able to visit with your child the first few days of school to ease the transition? How often are parents welcome to visit?
â˜ What type of communication does the teacher typically have with the parent, such as regular conversations or parent/teacher conferences?
â˜ How does the staff manage students’ behavior? What types of behavior management strategies are used?
â˜ What is the classroom adult-to-child ratio?
â˜ How do staff handle it when a child becomes sick at school?
â˜ Are play and learning materials readily available to students?
â˜ Are there different areas or learning centers in the classroom offering variety and hands-on learning opportunities?
â˜ Is there a quiet or rest area in the classroom where your child can go when over stimulated or needs time alone?
â˜ Does the classroom appear to be clean and free of unnecessary clutter?
â˜ Are universal precautions maintained to ensure the safety of all students?
â˜ Is the children’s work displayed in the classroom at their level?
â˜ Is the bathroom easily accessible to children? Will the staff work in partnership with you to help toilet train your child?
Philosophy and Curriculum
â˜ What is the philosophy of the program? What does it say about how children learn best? Is this in alignment with your own beliefs as a parent and how you feel your child learns best?
â˜ What Curriculum is used? How does it address the developmental needs of the students?
â˜ How is the curriculum going to address your child’s developmental strengths and challenges?
â˜ Are the classroom activities meaningful and developmentally appropriate for the students?
â˜ Are there both full- and half-day options? (Not applicable to school district classes.)
â˜ Is the schedule balanced with both active and quiet learning activities?
â˜ Is an outdoor or gross motor area available to students?
â˜ Are opportunities built into the schedule in which your child can interact socially with other students (or typically developing children)?
Therapy Services (type and level of services determined by IEP)
â˜ How do therapists (OT, PT, SLP) typically provide services; for example, do they work within the classroom or do they pull the child out for individual sessions?
â˜ How do therapists collaborate with teaching staff?
â˜ How are therapy goals addressed within the classroom?
â˜ How often will you, as a parent, be able to communicate with the therapists?