What is the Process?
Big PLANS for Little Kids partners with preschools and private kindergartens within your community who share a common philosophy regarding child development, discipline and building capacity for all children to enjoy a safe and enriching learning experience. In September, parents of all age four children are invited to fill out consent forms allowing their child to be screened by a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) and/or an Occupational Therapist (OT). Parents of age three children who are identified by a parent or teacher as having significant delays (or are not meeting developmental milestones as expected) are also encouraged to fill out consent forms for screening. Children participate in 15-minute screenings with the SLP and/or an OT. Based on the outcome of the screenings, children who require further assessment are identified. After the assessments (by the appropriate specialist), applications for children who are eligible to receive PUF or MM funding are sent to Alberta Education. Children who would benefit from ELL support, and are four years of age, are identified by the SLP during these screenings and are then assessed by an Educational Coordinator.
The DEADLINE for ACCESSING FULL-FUNDING is SEPTEMBER 28th of the current year.
Once Alberta Education gives funding approval, our therapists initiate therapy sessions with PUF, MM and ELL children and CDFs (Child Development Facilitators) can begin working in the classroom setting. Big PLANS is bound by contract to work within the school’s guidelines and must adhere to the wishes of the classroom teachers. Therefore Early Learning Specialists, therapists, and CDFs must work together with classroom teachers to create an effective program in the best interest of the child.
A child who does not qualify for PUF will typically still qualify for MM funding and therefore be seen by a therapist and Early Learning Specialist, though therapy is less frequent than if s/he had received PUF funding.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The process of screening, assessment and funding approval can take up to one month of time. While our teams work as efficiently as possible to ensure the safety and best interests of the child, we WILL NOT hire any Therapists or Child Development Facilitators for children before approval from Alberta Education. This policy is based strictly on financial limitations and guidelines that Big PLANS is given to work with throughout the school year. Age limitations do apply. If, for example, a three-year-old child does not qualify for PUF, a three-year-old CANNOT get MM funding. The team must wait a full school year to apply for Mild-Moderate funding.