Early Learning Programs

Your school district is required to provide a free appropriate public education for all children with disabilities who are age 3 through 21. Parents of preschool children who need, or are thought to need, special education and related services must begin on the child’s third (3rd) birthday for children served in an early intervention program or for those children referred for an evaluation 60 school days before their third birthday and found eligible. If the child’s third birthday occurs during the summer, the IEP team will determine when the school district’s services to the child will begin. 

Transition from Early Intervention

Transition is the process of planning activities for the change from early intervention to preschool education. If your child is receiving early intervention services and it is suspected that your child might have a disability and may be eligible for preschool special education, the following activities should occur:

  • At least 90 days and up to six (6) months prior to your child’s third birthday, the early intervention service coordinator should schedule a meeting with you to discuss transition. The school district will be invited to this meeting. Your consent is required to share information with the school district.
  • If you consent to share information with the school district, you and the other participants at the meeting (early intervention service providers and school district personnel) will review records and determine whether or not your child is suspected of having a disability.
  • A child, aged 3-5, with a disability may be declared eligible for special education services under the category of “developmental delay.” When the child turns six, an IEP meeting must be held to determine eligibility under one of the IDEA special education categories.


Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123 conducts regular screenings of children from 3 to 5 years of age. The children will be screened in the developmental areas of concepts, self-help, social, and speech & language. Early childhood professionals will present play-based activities that will assess developmental skills. Screening results will be reviewed with the family.

All preschoolers who reside in the Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123 boundaries can participate in screenings free of charge.


  • October 6, 2021
  • December 1, 2021
  • February 2, 2022
  • March 2, 2022
  • May 4, 2022

Please call Kim Blitek at (708) 423-8363 or send email to to schedule an appointment.

Tuition Preschool

The Tuition Preschool is designed to educate children ages 3 through 5. The program will provide a positive beginning for each child’s school experience. Children age four attend three – five days a week, providing an option of a morning, afternoon or full-day session. Children age three attend two days a week, providing an option of a morning or afternoon sessions. The classroom is staffed with one teacher and one instructional assistant. Children are placed in this program through the Preschool Registration process. Please contact Sward School at (708) 423-7820 for information about tuition preschool.  If you would like more information on the Tuition Preschool Program, please click here.

Blended Early Learning

The Blended Early Learning Program is designed to educate children of all developmental abilities in a least restrictive environment, providing opportunities for optimal learning. Children attend five (5) days a week, providing an option of morning or afternoon sessions. Each session is 2.5 hours long. Children are placed in this program through the Preschool Screening process, transitioning from Early Intervention (EI) services, or by teacher recommendation.

Early Childhood Special Education

The Early Childhood Special Education Program is designed to provide specialized instruction and support for children with disabilities with a variety of educational and developmental needs. A higher teacher to student ratio is provided and classroom environments incorporate related services, as well as communication, academic, and sensory supports. The curriculum is aligned to the Illinois Early Learning Standards, however, the materials, assessments, and activities are highly modified to accommodate the unique learning needs of the students. Children attend five days per week for a 2 ½ hour (am or pm) session. Placement in the early childhood special education program is determined through a referral from Early Intervention, Child Find, and the IEP process.


The evaluation procedures described in Section 2 apply to preschool children suspected of having a disability which will adversely affect educational performance.

The Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) may be used for a preschool child who is transitioning from early intervention and is found eligible for special education. If an IFSP is used, it must meet all the content requirements of an IEP and must be developed during a meeting in which the required participants are in attendance. In using the IFSP, the local school district must provide a detailed explanation of the differences between an IFSP and an IEP and obtain informed, written consent from you for the use of the IFSP.

The IEP or IFSP must be developed and services must be in effect beginning on the child’s 3rd birthday. The type, amount and location of special education services provided must be based on the child’s needs. The law requires that preschoolers receive their services together with children without disabilities, to the maximum extent appropriate.

Our Early Learning Programs

Oak Lawn-Hometown offers a continuum of special education services to meet the unique educational needs of the three to five year old students with disabilities. The range of available services is designed in compliance with the federal and state guidelines supporting the least restrictive environment in which services can be provided. Least restrictive environment means providing services in settings similar to programs provided to typical preschool children.

Preschool children are found eligible to participate in district services through an identification and assessment process. The assessment of preschool children focuses on the expectations and growth of the preschool child, and the evaluation of developmental skills, which are the foundation for academic and social learning. The assessed skill areas relate to academic functioning and are divided into five developmental domains: cognitive skills, fine and gross motor skills, self-help skills, social skills, and speech and language skills.

Oak Lawn-Hometown School District is responsible for providing services to preschool children who have been identified and received support through a birth to three early intervention agency or program. A transition plan is established between the early intervention agency and the district in order to provide appropriate services without interruption when the child turns three.

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