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Early Childhood

Early Childhood Center

The KSD Early Childhood Center (ECC), believes that children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing and their families have the right to services that provide early language acquisition. We recognize that FAMILIES are our children's first teachers and that we (school and families) are partners in early education. The ECC emphasize a bilingual education in which acquisition of both the American Sign Language and English language is fostered.


The child will develop:
  • A primary language through natural acquisition in a visual environment similar to language acquisition in an auditory environment.
  • A second language acquired through natural and instructional methods that connects the primary language with second language learning and literacy achievement.
  • The kinds of cognitive knowledge needed to succeed in the elementary grades.
  • The social and emotional intelligence to interact with children and adults of all ages and cultures.


The Early Childhood Center utilizes a developmentally appropriate curriculum to serve the age span of children within each group and with respect to different needs, interests, and developmental levels of those individual children. Our program is based on the High/Scope Curriculum, which effectively combines sound educational theory with developmentally appropriate experiences. The cornerstone of High/Scope's early childhood curriculum is active learning composed of personal, hands-on experiences. The curriculum is designed to promote the development of physical, social, emotional, and cognitive skills. A bilingual communication in education is used based on the model from the Center on ASL and English Bilingual Education and Research for the acquisition of both American Sign Language and English. Assessment procedures are based on the Child Observation Record (COR) from High/Scope, bilingual checklists, and literacy and communication observations.

EC Children gathered around book

Kansas School for the Deaf

Early Childhood

Peer Model Program


We are excited to announce that interested families may apply for their hearing child's enrollment in our Early Childhood program as a peer model for one school year. Our program offers a developmentally appropriate and bilingual early childhood program for children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. We believe that children learn from other children as well as from adults.


The inclusion of early childhood peers who are hearing benefits both groups.  Children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing are exposed to additional spoken language.  Children who are hearing are exposed to additional American Sign Language.  Peer models will also learn and gain their own preschool skills while in our Early Childhood program.  The classroom ratio is four deaf/hard-of-hearing children to one 
hearing peer.


Peer models are also selected by the following criteria:

  • Peer model children have older sibling(s) attending KSD.
  • Peer model children pass all portions of a developmental screening given by their local school district and supply a copy before being scheduled for the 3-day observation in April. If selected peer models wish to continue as 2nd year peer models, they do not need to undergo a developmental screening but need to submit a written request.
  • Peer model children obtain an average score of 2.5 or above in the areas of Initiative, Social Relations, and Language & Literacy as measured by the Child Observation Record (COR).  The COR will be done by the KSD Early Childhood Team.
  • A hearing student with an IEP cannot be considered for the peer model slot. The peer model program is to provide "typical developing peers" with deaf and hard-of-hearing students.
  • An annual pure tone hearing screening by your local school district or KSD will be required.
  • Peer model children must be toilet-trained before they can enter the program.
  • Peer model children are at least three and a half years old by September 1st.

 If you are interested, please contact Elementary/Early Childhood Principal, Petra M. Horn-Marsh, PhD, via email or by phone 913-324-5848.

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