The New Jersey Preschool Inclusive Education Project is a partnership between the New Jersey Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and the Montclair State University Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health. The collaboration is designed to enhance school districts’ capacity to implement inclusive practices for preschool students with disabilities effectively. Through professional learning opportunities and leadership development, the NJPIEP will engage educators and families in planning, implementing and expanding inclusive opportunities and practices.

The NJPIEP will facilitate embedding inclusive practices into existing support and intervention systems, according to an advisory. Professional learning topics include Preschool Inclusion 101, Universal Design for Learning, Stress and Young Children, Facilitating Play at All Developmental Levels, Integrating Related Service into the Classroom and Reframing Autism.

The NJPIEP will offer free support to school districts through one of two different avenues:

  • A seven-and-a-half hour targeted technical assistance package for one of the above topic areas. The NJPIEP team will work with the school-based team to design a format for delivery of the technical assistance package customized to meet staff’s needs. Each package is designed to implement a mix of training, coaching, reflection and assistance with implementation. Each site may select only one topic.
  • A multiyear systemic change program. The systemic change process involves a three-to-five-year commitment to becoming a more inclusive school. NJPIEP inclusion facilitators will provide on and off-site support through strategic planning meetings, professional learning opportunities, reflective discussions, coaching and consultation. Each school will develop or utilize an existing team that will drive the implementation of best practices in inclusion. This team will meet monthly with an NJPIEP inclusion facilitator, who will work with them to identify and work toward implementing best practices.

These professional learning opportunities equip special and general education school administrators, educators, support staff, families and caregivers with the skills and resources to implement inclusive education in preschools and learning environments. Schools can now apply for the NJPIEP for the 2024-2025 academic year. Twelve spots are available for technical assistance and three for systemic change.

For additional information, please visit the New Jersey Preschool Inclusive Education Project webpage highlighting the application process.  The deadline to apply to the technical assistance package is May 10, 2024, whereas the deadline to apply to the systemic change program is May 17, 2024.