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Madison Metropolitan School District

Early Learning Session Peer Program

The Madison Schools is committed to providing an array of placement options for 3 year olds that have been identified with a disability. One of those options is the Early Learning Session classroom, which is designed to provide an IEP service model for children who would otherwise not have access to same-aged, neuro-typical peers for learning opportunities. These classrooms are located at Anana, Lapham, and Muir Elementary.

The Early Learning Session classrooms are designed for 3 year olds with disabilities and their peers. The classroom is run at a preschool program that is led by a Special Education Teacher and supported by a Special Education Assistant and other support staff.

Early Learning peers must be 3 years of age on or before September 1st of the school year to participate. Peers may only participate in the program for one school year. They should mostly be independent in their daily living, dressing, feeding and bathrooming skills. The program is taught in English, so children are expected to use their verbal communication skills to effectively communicate their wants and needs. All parents must complete an application, screeners (ASQ and speech sound profile), sign a peer agreement and participate in a meet-and-greet with the classroom teacher prior to acceptance.

It is anticipated that early learning peers will naturally provide appropriate responses to different learning situations. These responses serve as wonderful learning experiences for our early learning participants experiencing delays in their development. In turn, early learning peers have the opportunity to participate in many fun learning activities provided by our experienced staff. Early learning peers gain empathy, leadership and
school readiness skills.

The Early Learning Session is a free program. Parents are required to provide transportation to/from the program. Questions or concerns can be discussed with the Teacher or Program Support Teacher.

Application Forms

What are the expectations of Early Learning Peers?

  • Be at least three years old on or before September 1st and not have turned four years old prior to September 1st of the current school year
  • Live within the Madison Metropolitan School District boundaries
  • Be mostly independent with bathrooming needs (3 year olds are often just mastering this routine so some support is understandable!)
  • Demonstrate typical self-help and social skills ( e.g. drinks from an open cup, willing to initiate play with other children, able to follow directions with minimal prompting)
  • Speak in sentences and understand appropriate to the child’s age-level in English.

When and where are Early Learning Peer programs?

  • Anana, Muir, and Lapham Elementary schools have Early Learning Sessions for the 2023-2024 school year.
  • Classes run 4 half-days/week, Tuesday through Friday. Peer Models are expected to attend 4 half-days/week (AM or PM session) and demonstrate good attendance. Children with disabilities may attend 2-4 half-days/week.
  • Below are the sessions for the 2023-2024 school year:
    • Anana: Morning and Afternoon
    • Muir: Morning and Afternoon
    • Lapham: Morning and Afternoon

Applications are still currently being accepted for the Muir Early Learning Program. All other programs are full for the 23-24 school year.

Applications for the 24-25 school year will be accepted beginning March 1, 2024.

Think you know someone who might make a good Early Learning Peer?

Electronic applications are available, above. Or call the Pre-K Information Line at 608-663-8471 for more information.

*NOTE: Early Learning Sessions may be discontinued during a school year due to limited number of students with Special Education Needs. MMSD is not required to offer programming for all 3 year old children. We cannot guarantee that a site will remain open throughout the school year