The Mason City Schools’ Preschool Program is no longer accepting applications for the 2024-25 school year for typically developing preschool age children. Applications received after the deadline will not be accepted. The application process is not first come first serve. Acceptance into the preschool program is determined by a lottery drawing using the applications received by the February 9th deadline. Families will receive notification of the status of their child’s application by email no later than March 22, 2024. Children not selected in the lottery will automatically be waitlisted. The waiting list will be used if openings occur either prior to school starting or once school is in session.
Please do not log into the Gateway registration site. That site is for registration purposes only. Gateway is NOT the application for the preschool lottery.
MECC Preschool Program Overview:
In response to a 1992 federal mandate that requires the provision of special education services to children ages 3-5 by public school districts, Mason City Schools developed a preschool program to meet the needs of children with identified disabilities. An integrated program model was adopted in which typically developing children would be enrolled with students who have identified special needs. The goal of the integrated classroom is to provide an enriched learning environment for all children during their preschool years. Classrooms are balanced for many factors including age and gender.
The curriculum is guided by the State of Ohio’s Early Learning and Development Standards provided by the Ohio Department of Education. The daily schedule provides a balance of whole group, small group and individual instruction, as well as learning opportunities incorporated within center based activities. Children are given opportunities to interact with peers and adults in the classroom, as well as in a motor room and during outside play. The social curriculum is based on The Responsive Classroom philosophy, a research based approach which fosters safe, challenging and joyful classrooms.
Our preschool teachers have a Bachelor’s and/or a Master’s degree and are highly qualified in the area of early childhood education. Each classroom is a multi-age grouping of three to five year old children, who are not age eligible to attend kindergarten. Classes are comprised of one half children who have been identified with special needs and one half children who are considered to be typically developing. Each classroom will have one Early Childhood certified teacher and at least one teacher's assistant (paraprofessional).
Classes are in session Monday through Thursday and generally follow the Mason City School District Academic Year calendar. Students attend either morning or afternoon sessions for approximately two hours and 45 minutes. Session of attendance is determined by home address.
Below are some considerations to understand as you determine if the MECC Preschool is the right fit for your family.
Step Up to Quality Five-Star Rating: In recognition of a commitment to quality and an ongoing dedication to the learning and development of children, Mason City Schools' Preschool Program has received the Five-Star Step Up To Quality Award from the state of Ohio. This recognition is the highest the Ohio Department of Education awards to preschool programs throughout the state.
Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) is a five–star quality rating and improvement system administered by the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. SUTQ recognizes and promotes learning and development programs that meet quality program standards that exceed licensing and health and safety regulations. The program standards are based on national research identifying standards which lead to improved outcomes for children. The SUTQ review includes an unannounced on-site visit to evaluate the program.
To learn more about the Step Up to Quality Program, click here.
Please contact MECC Preschool Administrative Assistant, Michelle Fischley, at (513) 229-4578 with questions.
If you need information on district supports for preschool children with special needs or questions regarding your child's development, please contact Julie Cooper at (513) 229-4578 ext. 82432.
Mason Early Childhood Preschool Program
4631 Hickory Woods Dr. 513-229-4578
MECC Preschool Offers a Continuum of Services
MECC Preschool offers a continuum of services to students qualifying for special education services. This is visited annually.
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
LRE means that my child should be educated along with children without disabilities, to the greatest extent possible.
- The Individualized Education Program (IEP team, which includes me, considers my child’s individual needs to determine how to provide the appropriate placement in the LRE.
- The team decides the appropriate LRE for my child during IEP meetings, after they determine necessary services. I am an equal member of the IEP team.
- As the parent, my role in determining LRE is to discuss with the IEP team where my child would be most successful.
- Whenever appropriate, a child with a disability should remain in the preschool or childcare setting that he or she is already attending and receive special education services there.
|Preschool General Education Class Environment
The classroom is made up of more typically developing students with a maximum of eight students on IEP’s enrolled in the class. The IEP case manager shall be an Itinerant Intervention Specialist. The general education teacher provides instruction in the general education curriculum.
|Integrated Classroom Environment
Taught by a dual-licensed teacher who meets the lead teacher and intervention specialist requirements. The intent of the class is 50% typically developing peer models and 50% students on IEP’s enrolled.
|Public Preschool Special Education Class Environment
The Intervention Specialist is licensed to teach preschool special education and is responsible for specially designed instruction for one or more children with IEP’s enrolled in the class. (the intent of the classroom is to have 51% or more of students in the class are children with disabilities)
Special education services provided in the home setting.
The State of Ohio requires preschool programs to provide families with a list of community daycare/preschool options within the surrounding area. You can access this list via this link. Decisions regarding Least Restrictive Environment are discussed and determined as an IEP team during the IEP meeting.