Early Childhood (Birth to 5 years)

Early Childhood (Birth – 5 yrs.)

At the heart of every dream for a child is the promise of an exceptional education regardless of ability. At Abilities First, we believe that in order for early childhood education to be exceptional, it must (a) prepare students for future educational success, (b) offer opportunities for children with special needs to be educated among their peers, and (c) account for individual difference between students in terms of developmental progress.  Our Early Intervention and Preschool Programs meet all of the above criteria. 

A young girl stares at an open picture book.

Evaluations for Preschool Special Education Services

The first step to accessing Special Educational Preschool services is to seek evaluations to determine if a child requires special services and if so, what those services should be. Abilities First conducts evaluations by a team of certified and licensed professionals including Special Education Teachers, Speech Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists and sometimes other professionals.

The evaluation results in recommendations that could include only some education and therapy services or placement in a half day or full day Preschool Program. Actual placement decisions are made by the child’s home school district Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE).

A man holds a baby girl on an exercise ball.

Preschool Related Services

When it is determined that a child does not need a regular half day or full day Special Education Preschool Program but does need some education or therapy services, this is called Preschool Related Services. The kind and frequency of services is determined by the child’s home school district CPSE. Abilities First delivers these services in one of our specialized facilities.

Center-Based Special Education Pre-School

Children who require a program that is highly specialized to address learning, social, behavioral and other developmental needs may attend a Center-Based Special Education Preschool. Abilities First offers this service in Wappingers Falls where classrooms are either eight (8) or twelve (12) students with a Special Educational Teacher, Teacher Assistant and Teacher Aides.

In addition to classroom learning, many students also receive specialized therapies as part of this program, including but not limited to Speech Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy. This facility includes a 1,300 square foot state-of-the-art sensory gym. Placement decisions for the Abilities First Center Based Special Educational Preschool are made by each child’s home school district Committee on Special Education Preschool (CPSE).

A woman helps two young girls learn Spanish.

Integrated Preschools

Some students needing special education services may be recommended for integrated programs, which means students receive special education and therapy services in a setting with students who do not receive special education services.

Abilities First offers this kind of Preschool Services in two locations: Poughkeepsie (Head Start) and Hyde Park (Universal Pre-K). In these settings, students with and without disabilities benefit from interaction with each other and develop healthy attitudes about disability issues. Placement decisions for Integrated Special Education Preschool placements are made by each child’s home school district.

Placement in the regular education component of the Poughkeepsie Program is made through Astor Services Head Start Program. Placement in the regular education Hyde Park Program is made through the Hyde Park Central School District (www.HPCSD.org).


Abilities First Preschool at Myers Corners
167 Myers Corners Road
Suite 104, Wappingers Falls, NY 12590
Phone: (845) 298-2090
Abilities First Integrated Universal Pre-K in Hyde Park
In partnership with Hyde Park CSD
Hyde Park Elementary School
4327 Albany Post Rd
Hyde Park, NY 12538
Phone: (845) 698-1072
Abilities First Preschool at Executive Drive
121 Executive Drive, Suite 100
New Windsor, NY 12553
Phone: (845) 303-2408
Fax: (845) 452-2520

Note: All Abilities First Pre-School Programs are free of charge for students who qualify. Transportation is also provided.