The proposed special education preschool wing will include spaces and features specifically designed to address the special needs of this preschool population. The spaces/features include a sensory-friendly adaptive PE room, a sensory therapy room, an occupational therapy room, and a physical therapy room—all with equipment that is size-appropriate for preschoolers. It also will include a nurse’s clinic with an accessible bathroom. On two levels as opposed to the current Shawsheen, which was built in 1923 and has five levels, the new Shawsheen will facilitate faster and safer movement of students among the special service areas.
The preschool will have its own entrance off the parking lot. The preschool wing will also include a waiting room for families and therapy space to serve the 40-50 preschool students who receive only speech and language therapy by appointment only.
The current Shawsheen Preschool has a substantial number of students in the PreK BRIDGE program who move into West’s BRIDGE program and other special education programs at kindergarten age. Connecting the PreK program to the West Elementary facility will provide a consistent and supportive environment over a period of several years and limit disruption for this particular group of students when they transition to the elementary program. It will also enable efficiency in special education service delivery among staff who can serve students PreK to grade 5.