Early Childhood Program (Preschool)

Early Childhood Education & Early Childhood Special Education

Gordana Dimacchia

Designed to meet the needs of Lakewood prekindergarten children, the program is available to Lakewood children who meet eligibility criteria. It is an opportunity for children to participate in an Early Childhood experience, which is tailored to meet each student's unique needs and learning style.

The services of the Early Childhood Education Program have been successful in our community since 1990. The Lakewood Early Childhood Program is funded by the Ohio Department of Education Early Childhood Education grant, U.S. Department of Education Early Childhood Special Education grant, and local funds. It recruits and admits students of any race, color, disability or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities.

The Lakewood Early Childhood Program is comprised of an integrated classroom format and a six plus six format. The integrated classrooms are staffed by an Early Childhood Education teacher, a Special Education teacher and two educational assistants. The six plus six classrooms are staffed by a Special Education teacher and an educational assistant. Both classroom formats follow the Lakewood City School District calendar and teach based upon the Early Learning Content Standards.

Classes are composed of eligible 4 year-old Early Childhood Education students and eligible 3 - 5 year- old Early Childhood Special Education students.

Assessment is ongoing throughout the school year. The first weeks of each school year, specific assessments are used to determine the needs of each student. Students participate in state mandated testing.

Breakfast is available at all locations.


Early Childhood Education students participating in an integrated classroom attend five days a week. Each session is 2-1/2 hours. The Friday session is devoted to activities planned to meet the specific needs of students.

Please note, Early childhood Education students participating in a six plus six classroom do not attend on Friday.

Early Childhood Education students are eligible if they are:

  • Lakewood residents
  • Toilet-trained

Tuition is based on a sliding fee scale (click here to view the fee schedules). The registration process for eligible students begins in February of the preceding year. Specific information for Early Childhood Education is available by calling  216-529-4214.


Students receiving special education participating in either an integrated format or a six plus six format attend four days a week (Monday - Thursday). Each session is 2 1/2 hours. Fridays are dedicated to community outreach activities.

The Early Childhood Special Education program serves children 3- 5 years old
demonstrating developmental delays in language, socialization, cognition / pre-academic, motor skills, behavioral / emotional growth and / or adaptive behavior.

Toilet training is not a requirement for admission. Services provided at no cost to families

Screenings, evaluations and placement are made throughout the school year

Early Childhood Special Education eligibility is determined by Lakewood City Schools Student Services Department. Specific information is available at 216- 529-4214.


Teachers hold a valid Ohio Teaching License and meet Ohio's requirements for working with Prekindergarten children. Classroom assistants also meet state criteria and are under the direction of the classroom teachers.

Each child's development is discussed during parent teacher conferences and throughout the school year.

Parents are welcome to visit at any time. Parent participation is encouraged to create a home and school connection that benefits each child's academic and social success.

Program instruction is aligned with the Ohio Department of Education's Early Learning Content & Standards. Children are provided many opportunities to develop necessary academic and social skills and pursue many areas of interest.

Children develop at different rates and have different abilities; all activities are developmentally appropriate which allows children to develop at their own pace.

The Lakewood City School District's Early Childhood Program is founded on the following beliefs:

  • Children learn best when activities are developmentally and individually appropriate.
  • Children acquire the appreciation of differences in society through the interactions with diverse groups of children and adults.
  • Children learn best through play, exploration and discovery.
  • The inter-relationship between child, family and school form the core of preschool planning.
  • Children must have their basic needs met in order to fully develop their potential.
  • Children acquire citizenship skills through interactions with diverse groups of children and adults.
  •  In the classroom, the process of an activity is deemed more important than the product.
  • Each day the children are encouraged to make their own decisions, communicate their experiences, work with other children and adults and exercise self discipline.