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Early Childhood Special Education

Early Childhood Special Education provides early intervention to young children, age birth to kindergarten, who show developmental delay in the general areas of:


  • Cognitive
  • Speech and Language
  • Large and fine motor skills
  • Adaptive/functional skills
  • Vision or hearing losses
  • Social/Emotional skills



After a child receives a formal evaluation to identify specific needs, trained ECSE teachers and specialists will work with the parents and child to develop his or her greatest potential. From birth to age three, these Special Education services are delivered to the child primarily in his or her home or childcare center. 


The ECSE process guarantees parental involvement every step of the way. From birth to age three, a child's education is outlined in the "Individual Family Service Plan," or IFSP. After that, the child's educational goals and objectives are spelled out in his or her "Individual Education Plan," or IEP. Parents are a key team member in putting together the IFSP and IEP.


The ECSE staff supports children and their families by:


  1. Helping children do the best they can through individualized program plans (IFSP and IEP) geared to promote development, based on each child's assessed level of function and need.
  2. Supporting and educating families to help promote the abilities and work with the challenges of children who have special needs.
  3. Providing parents with information about community-based resources & experiences for their children.

Ages: Birth to Two


Minnesota's Help Me Grow: Infant and Toddler Intervention services are provided for eligible children birth through two years of age who may be experiencing delays in their development for several reasons, including special health conditions. These services are designed to meet the unique developmental needs of each child and their family and are offered at no cost to families. To contact Help Me Grow with a referral or for information, please call 866-693-GROW (state-wide) or go to their website.


Ages: Three to Five


For a referral for a student between the ages of three and five, please contact Help Me Grow with a referral or for information, please call 866-693-GROW (state-wide) or go to their website.  You can also call the Early Childhood Special Education Department, located at Challenger Elementary School, at 218.681.8670

ECSE pic

Special Education Family Resources

Our Early Childhood Special Ed Classrooms