Early Education Program

Our Early Education program provides extensive play-based learning enriched with specialized supports to young children identified as having a severe delay or diagnosis, as well as children with mild to moderate delays.

Early Education Classrooms

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Universal, targeted and individual programming is delivered in high-quality Early Education settings throughout the school division. These schools include:

Early Education classrooms operate four mornings or afternoons per week. Staff collaborate to meet the individual needs of each child within an inclusive, play-based environment. Each classroom includes a mix of children: those with identified delays, and their peers from the community, who participate as Play Partners.

The Early Education program is staffed by a team of professionals, consisting of: Classroom team, Therapists, Child & Parent, and other support.

Early Education Programming

  • Early education supports brain development and significantly impacts a child’s future success in school. 
  • Each child has a Personal Learning Profile, which is developed in collaboration with the team and parents to support a child’s specific learning needs. 
  • Supporting a child’s strengths and interests encourages the development of a child’s curiosity and a lifelong love for learning. 
  • Children learn best through play experiences, which allow them to develop skills, confidence and positive attitudes towards learning while exploring and manipulating different materials. They do not even know how hard they are working!

Programming includes all domains:

Program Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria for special needs grants is outlined by Alberta Education and is based on information and assessments provided by a Family Physician / Developmental Pediatrician, Speech-language Pathologist, Occupational / Physical Therapist and/or a Registered Psychologist.

To qualify for the Early Education program, as of August 31 of the current school year:

Children with severe delays:

  • Must be a minimum age of 2 years 8 months and less than 4 years 8 months
  • Must have a severe developmental delay or diagnosis OR
  • Must have a severe speech and language delay

Children with mild to moderate delays:

  • Must be at least 3 years 8 months of age, but less than 4 years 8 months of age

Upon request, assessments may be available to those attending the PSD Early Education program. A child may be assessed by a PSD speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist or educational psychologist. Assessment results from other agencies (e.g. Alberta Health Services or private agencies) will also be considered and reviewed for program eligibility.

If your child has not yet been professionally assessed and you are unsure if they may be eligible for the Early Education program, please refer to the Developmental Milestones chart for more information. If you still have questions regarding developmental concerns and eligibility for program placements, please contact Early Childhood Services at the Division Office in Stony Plain (see contact information below).

To apply for the PSD Early Education Program, please complete and submit a Parkland School Division registration form. When your registration form is processed, Early Childhood Services will contact you to let you know if your child has been accepted into the program.

Play Partners

Early Education welcomes community children to enjoy play-based programming alongside students with identified needs. Play Partners become role models for their peers and active participants in shared learning experiences that benefit everyone in the classroom.

Play Partners must be a minimum age of 3 years on September 1 of the current school year, and toilet trained. The Play Partners program is available for a fee and is based on space and resources. For more information, please contact Early Childhood Services at 780-963-8429.

To apply to the Early Education Program as a Play Partner, please complete and submit a Parkland School Division registration form. After your registration form has been processed, Early Childhood Services will contact you to participate in a screen. After the screening, you will be notified as to your child’s acceptance into the program.


Transportation is not provided for children in the Early Education Program.

Parent-provided transportation funding is available for Early Education students who:

  • Meet Alberta Education’s eligibility and attendance requirements
  • Live at least 2.4 km away from the school they will attend

To see if you qualify for transportation funding, please contact Early Childhood Services at the number or email address below.