Tab/Accordion Items

The North Carolina IDEA Part B 619 Program, also known as the Preschool Exceptional Children's Program, serves children ages three through five who are eligible for exceptional children services. Our team supports statewide and local efforts to ensure all eligible children are identified, experience seamless program transitions, are served in inclusive environments to the extent appropriate and experience positive outcomes.

IDEA Part B 619 Program Resources and Updates

The Department of Public Instruction’s Preschool Exceptional Children’s Program promotes the development and successful participation of North Carolina’s preschool-age children with special needs in a broad range of activities and contexts, including their homes, early learning programs, and communities. In order to accomplish this goal, the Preschool Exceptional Children’s Program must maintain strong collaborations with a variety of partners. First, cross-division collaboration with the Exceptional Children Program is essential to ensure that all services are compliant, reliable and responsive to family and child needs. The preschool program also plays a part in the Exceptional Children State Systemic Improvement Plan. Second, the program is situated within the Office of Early Learning to facilitate strong collaborations with other early childhood programs operated by the Department (Title I Preschool and Head Start) in order to facilitate inclusive opportunities for preschoolers with disabilities. Finally, collaborations outside the Department include two divisions within the Department of Health and Human Services (Division of Child Development and Early Education for the NC Pre-K program and the Division of Public Health for the Infant Toddler Program) and the North Carolina Partnership for Children.

The Teaching Strategies GOLD® Frequently Asked Questions for Preschool document provides helpful information to district preschool programs as they utilize Teaching Strategies GOLD to support their year-long formative assessment processes. While this document is intended for public school-based preschool programs, the information may also be helpful for community-based preschool programs.

Other professional development and technical assistance information can be found at the Early Learning Network website. EC Preschool Coordinators can access resources on Early Childhood Discipline, Early Childhood Enrollment, Hearing/Vision Screening, Early Childhood Least Restrictive Environment, and Early Childhood Transitions on the Early Learning Network EC Coordinator Resource page.

Information for Families

If you are concerned about your child’s development, you can access some helpful resources to see what children should be doing at various ages during normal development. The CDC's webpage, Learn the Signs. Act Early., provides a wealth of information on child development from birth to 5 years. Your child should reach milestones in how he plays, learns, speaks, acts and moves. There is even an app you can download to help you track your child’s development and act early if you have a concern.

The North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning and Development provides in-depth explanation of child development from birth through 60 months of age and is considered to be NC’s early learning standards.

Birth To Five: Watch Me Thrive! is a coordinated federal effort to encourage healthy child development, universal developmental and behavioral screening for children, and support for the families and providers who care for them.

The CDC has some great information available to learn about what the differences are between Developmental Monitoring, a Developmental Screening, and a Developmental Evaluation. This website also explains why these are important.

Each local school system has an Exceptional Children’s Program that is responsible for conducting screening and evaluations for children starting at age 3. If you are concerned about your child’s development, including speech, please contact your local Exceptional Children’s Coordinator to gain assistance. The name and contact information for each local Exceptional Children’s Coordinator can be found here.

Learn more about the referral process.

Already receiving services?

If your child is currently receiving services through the NC Infant-Toddler Program and will turn three in the near future, you may want to access these resources at the following website:

Guiding Practices in Early Childhood Transition – Outlines activities, timelines, and recommended practices to facilitate a child's transition from the Infant-Toddler Program (Part C) to the Preschool Program (Part B).

Information for Professionals

If you are a health care professional and want to know how to contact your local Preschool Exceptional Program to notify them of a child with a potential disability, please refer to the following contact list.

If you wish to notify the program, please use the form listed here:

Physician Notification to Exceptional Children Preschool Program, Form to be completed by physician and sent to the Exceptional Children Preschool Program

Please provide a signed two-way release of information form with the notification form so that the Preschool Program can send you the follow-up to your notification.

Medical Home Feedback Form,- Template for providing feedback to referring provider/agency at completion of child's assessment

If you wish to understand the process that the Exceptional Children’s Program must follow upon receiving your notification to them, please read:

Referral Flow Chart Physician to Preschool Program - Summarizes physician to preschool notification process for children age 3 through 5

Notification Flow Chart Legend and Notes,- Explains initial evaluation process for children ages 3 through 21 as well as action steps for children age through 5

What are Title I Preschool Programs?

Title I preschool programs are designed to improve cognitive, health and social-emotional outcomes for eligible children below the grade at which an LEA (Local Education Agency) provides a free public elementary education. Children enrolled are provided with opportunities to prepare them with the prerequisite skills and dispositions for learning that will enable them to benefit from later school experiences. Although Title I allows preschool programs to serve children from birth up to age five, most North Carolina Title I preschools serve four-year-olds. Children must be age eligible by August 31 of the new school year. No child who is age eligible (5 years old on or before August 31 of the new school year) for kindergarten may be enrolled. Title I preschool programs usually follow the school calendar and school day, and are staffed with both a licensed teacher and qualified teacher assistant. 

Curricula used in Title I preschools must be comprehensive, research-based, and aligned with North Carolina's early learning standards. The learning experiences offered in a Title I preschool promote growth in all developmental domains. Children’s progress is monitored by teachers in an ongoing manner. This process of formative assessment includes multiple means such as observing, collecting work samples, and talking with families, which provides a picture of the whole child. Teachers use this data to guide teaching and learning in order to meet the individual needs of every child. Family engagement is an integral component of all Title I preschool programs. Communication between home and school strengthens the family's knowledge and understanding of their child's development and allows parents and teachers to work together to plan appropriate learning experiences. Teachers use a variety of methods to involve parents in the education of their child, including home visits, conferences, and written/electronic communication.


Children living within the local program's designated attendance area are eligible to apply for enrollment in the Title I preschool program. Selection is based on academic need. To identify those with the greatest need, local programs design a selection process that utilizes multiple criteria, such as parent interviews, teacher observations, and developmentally appropriate measures of child development (developmentally appropriate measures of child development – the most commonly used in NC are the Brigance Early Childhood Screen or DIAL- Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning). Family income may also be used to determine eligibility, but not as the sole determinant.



Overview and Unpacking Guides


NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development describes goals for all children’s development and learning, no matter what program they may be served in, what language they speak, what disabilities they may have, or what family circumstances they are growing up in. The document provides age-appropriate goals and developmental indicators for each age level - infant, toddler, and preschooler. Foundations is also intended to be a guide for teaching – not a curriculum or checklist that is used to assess children’s development and learning, but a resource to define the skills and abilities we want to support in the learning experiences we provide for children.

Foundations outlines the standards for children from birth through age 5. The K-12 Standards webpage has information regarding North Carolina's Standard Course of Study for older students.

The North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five are an expansion of the North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning and Development (2013). Learning progressions were developed for each identified goal in four developmental domains, and show the steps through which children develop skills from birth to five years.

Unpacking Guides

In the Classroom: Foundations Unpacking Guides can be accessed below.  The purpose of the unpacking guides is to provide support for teachers, coaches, and administrators.  Resources include clarification of developmental indicators, support for CORE instruction, and support for formative assessment practices.  Learn more about the unpacking guides by viewing this recorded webinar. The transcript can be accessed here. The slides are linked here.

Developmental Domain Links to Unpacking Guides
APL- Approaches to Learning

Curiosity, Information-Seeking, and Eagerness (Goals 1-2)

Play and Imagination (Goals 3-4)

Risk-Taking, Problem-Solving, and Flexibility (Goal 5-6)

Attentiveness, Effort, and Persistence (Goal 7-9)

ESD- Emotional Social Development

Developing Sense of Self (Goals 1-2)

Developing a Sense of Self with Others (Goals 3-5)

Learning About Feelings (Goals 6-7)

HPD- Health and Physical Development

Physical Health and Growth (Goals 1-3)

Motor Development (Goals 4-5)

Self-Care (Goals 6-7)

Safety Awareness (Goal 8)

LDC- Language Development and Communication

Learning to Communicate (Goals 1-7)

Foundations for Reading (Goals 8-12)

Foundations for Writing (Goals 13-15)

CD- Cognitive Development

Construction of Knowledge: Thinking and Reasoning (Goals 1-3)

Creative Expression (Goals 4-5)

Social Connections (Goals 6-9)

Mathematical Thinking and Expression (Goals 10-13)

Scientific Exploration and Knowledge (Goals 14-15)


As Paulson and Moats (2018) state, "Early literacy is not about learning to read in preschool; it is about building the important foundations needed for a smooth transition into early reading and writing in the primary grades" (p.1).

Resources for Leaders


LETRS® Early Childhood Conversations and Classroom Connections (PLC) LETRS® for Little Learners: Conversations and Classroom Connections is a guide for leaders in Early Childhood who are supporting implementation of LETRS professional development. Sessions include: reflective conversations based on knowledge gained through LETRS coursework, application of LETRS coursework to classroom practice, and leveraging documentation and data to inform classroom instruction.
LETRS® Support for Pre-K Leaders Webinar Series

The LETRS Support for Pre-K Leaders Series will provide an overview of the Science of Reading while addressing the essential components of literacy instruction: oral language, phonological & phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. The goal of each session is to increase background knowledge of early literacy development by sharing effective instructional practices and resources.

LETRS® for Little Learners Webinar Part 1

LETRS® for Little Learners Webinar Part 2

Part 1 Notecatcher and Slide Deck

Part 2 Notecatcher and Slide Deck

Resources for Teachers


Early Literacy in Pre-K Sway

This resource provides Pre-K teachers support with the implementation of evidence-based language and literacy strategies in print knowledge, phonological awareness, vocabulary, and oral language.

NC Pre-K Crosswalk Document

The crosswalk shows alignment among skilled reading strands from Scarborough’s Rope, NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development, Teaching Strategies GOLD® objectives and dimensions, and Kindergarten standards that are supported with early literacy instruction.

PlaytoRead: Activities for Literacy Development in the Pre-K Classroom

This resource is intended to support teachers as they intentionally support children’s development of literacy concepts and skills that are aligned to the Science of Reading. Similar activities should occur throughout the learning environment, providing multiple opportunities for children to authentically practice literacy skills.

PlaytoRead: Activities for Literacy Development with a Caregiver

This resource is intended to support caregivers as they support literacy development while engaging with young children. Teachers are encouraged to share the resource with caregivers and then highlight particular activities as the skills align to classroom activities. Teachers are invited to create more activities based on needs/interests in their classroom.

Read Aloud Support for Pre-K

Intentional planning for read alouds is essential. Templates and completed examples below demonstrate how each reading of a book focuses on specific literacy skills.

In-Depth Interactive Read Aloud Guide (template)

Read Aloud Example (Fiction)

Read Aloud Example (Nonfiction)

Abbreviated Interactive Read Aloud Guide and Planner (template)

In the Classroom: Foundations Unpacking Guides for Language Development and Communication

This resource unpacks NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development indicators for Language Development and Communication. Unpacking Guides are available for three subdomains: Learning to Communicate, Foundations for Reading, and Foundations for Writing.

Early Childhood Education and the Science of Reading: Recipes to Last a Lifetime

This blog post by Lucy Hart Paulson, author of LETRS for Early Childhood Educators, describes recipes for learning to read, oral language development, optimal learning, and learning through play. 

Resources for Families


Literacy at Home: Digital Children’s Reading Initiative

This digital resource provides literacy activities at each grade level, pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Families and communities may access this resource for activities that specifically target the literacy skills of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and oral language. When children grow in each of these foundational areas they are well on their way to becoming proficient readers.

Getting Ready for Kindergarten

Do you have a child getting ready to attend Kindergarten?  Check out our "Let's Get Ready" guide and accompanying resources on the Early Learning Info for Families page.

Let's Get Ready