Shop By:

Building Blocks for Teaching Preschoolers with Special Needs, Second Edition

Building Blocks for Teaching Preschoolers with Special Needs, Second Edition

Authors: Susan R. Sandall Ph.D., Ilene S. Schwartz Ph.D., BCBA-D   Foreword Author: Mary Louise Hemmeter Ph.D.   With Authors: Hsin-Ying Chou Ed.D., Eva M. Horn Ph.D., Gail E. Joseph Ph.D., Joan Lieber Ph.D., Samuel L. Odom Ph.D., Ruth Wolery Ph.D.

ISBN: 978-1-55766-967-4
Pages: 256
Copyright: 2008
Available Stock
Request Print Exam Copy
Paperback w/CD-ROM $44.95 Qty:

Size:  8.5 x 11.0
Stock Number:  69674
Format:  Paperback w/CD-ROM
Promotion Code: 
Updated for today's educators—especially those new to inclusion—the second edition of this bestselling guide is the lifeline preschool teachers need to fully include children with disabilities in their classrooms.

Easy to use with any existing curriculum, including Creative Curriculum and HighScope, Building Blocks gives educators three types of practical, research-based inclusion strategies that promote progress in critical areas like behavior, emergent literacy, and peer relationships. A must for professional development, this revised edition helps teachers thrive in the era of accountability with NEW material that reflects the six years of changes in early education since the first edition. Teachers will

  • discover how the Building Blocks approach aligns with OSEP outcomes to help teachers meet the federal requirements for special education
  • learn everything they need to know about evidence-based practice and how to apply it in their classrooms
  • print more than a dozen helpful forms—including classroom assessments, planning worksheets, and child evaluation forms—with the convenient NEW CD-ROM

Through clear and instructive vignettes woven throughout the book, teachers will also meet four young children from diverse backgrounds and learn from their teachers' examples of successful interventions. A perfect training tool for teachers and an ideal textbook for college and university courses, this revised bestseller will help today's preschool educators start all their students on the road to lasting school success.

Promote inclusion and improve child outcomes through

  • curriculum modifications that allow all children to participate
  • embedded learning opportunities used in typical classroom activities
  • child-focused instructional strategies that help students with individual learning objectives

A featured book in our Successful Early Childhood Inclusion Kit!

See how this product helps strengthen Head Start program quality and school readiness.

Review and Rate this Item
Be the first to submit a customer review on this product!
Review and Rate this Item


Review: Dimensions of Early Childhood (SECA)
"With ever-increasing accountability expectations, Building Blocks offers a refreshing tool of practicality for the teaching tool belt!"
Review: The Midwest Book Review - The Bookwatch
"Early learning libraries must have this!"
Review by: Hannah Schertz, Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities

"The book is most valuable for its wealth of strategies for modifying the curriculum. ...a practical resource for early childhood teachers who are in search of ways to implement RTI in preschool settings. ...a straightforward resource that is easy to follow, with clear guidance for addressing child learning needs in inclusive settings."

Review: Midwest Book Review, California Bookwatch
"...offers a lifeline for preschool teachers...teachers and education libraries will find it a fine tool."
Review by: Janice Myck-Wayne, Education Review Brief Reviews
"provides the "how-to" for implementing inclusive practices... ."
Review by: Kathryn Hoover, Assistant Professor, Early Childhood Special Education, Radford University, Radford, VA
"I prefer to use the Building Blocks text for inservice teachers coming back for the early childhood special education endorsement . . . The teachers appreciate the useful curriculum, materials, and environmental modifications chapter."
Review by: Martha A. York, Associate Professor, Special Services and Leadership Studies, Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas
"An invaluable resource for students who are learning to be educators of young children . . . will assist them in providing differentiated instruction to young students with all types of special needs in home-based, community-based, and inclusive center-based programs."
Review by: Alise Paillard, Assistant Professor, Department of Special Education, San Francisco State University
"Provides step-by-step strategies needed to implement a universally designed preschool program and make data-based decisions about children's progress towards individual learning objectives."
Review by: Sunhwa Jung, Assistant Professor, Education Department, Otterbein College
"A teacher-friendly book that fits inclusive preschool classrooms very well . . . include[es] many handy forms and instruction examples that are ready to use."
Review by: Judith J. Carta, Juniper Gardens Children's Project, University of Kansas
"An absolute must . . . can help teachers and early intervention team members plan, implement and evaluate educational practices to address children's unique needs."
Review by: Jacqui Berger, Coordinator of Early Childhood Studies, Empire State College
"An excellent tool that every preschool program can put into action . . . so young children with special needs can grow and flourish."
CD-ROM Contents
About the Authors
Foreword Mary Louise Hemmeter

I. Using the Building Blocks Framework
  1. Introduction
  2. Evidence-Based Practice and the Building Blocks Framework
  3. Keys to Collaboration
  4. Getting Started

II. Teaching Strategies
  1. Curriculum Modifications
    Curriculum Modifications by Type
    Curriculum Modifications by Activity and Routine
  2. Embedded Learning Opportunities
  3. Child-Focused Instructional Strategies

III. Important Topics Related to the Building Blocks Framework
  1. Becoming More Independent
  2. Acquiring and Using Knowledge Including Language and Early Literacy
  3. Friendships and Social Relationships
  4. Developmentally Appropriate Classroom Behavior
  5. Concluding Thoughts

Appendix A Blank Forms
Appendix B Additional Resources


Excerpted from Chapter 6 of Building Blocks for Teaching Preschoolers with Special Needs, Second Edition, by Susan R. Sandall, Ph.D., & Ilene S. Schwartz, Ph.D.

Copyright© 2008 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

When early childhood teachers plan their activities for the day for their whole class, they can add an extra layer of planning to simultaneously meet the learning objectives of their students with special needs. Embedded learning opportunities (ELOs) are short teaching episodes that teachers set up for when there is a good match between classroom activities and a child's individual learning objectives.

Classroom activities are planned to help all children learn valued concepts and skills. Teachers then create teaching episodes designed to ensure children with individual objectives engage more fully in the activities. With the use of the ELOs, it is presumed that the teacher and team are already using a high-quality curriculum and appropriate standards to guide their planning.

Using ELOs has a number of benefits:

  1. Since ongoing activities and routines are used, big changes to the classroom are not required.
  2. Choosing activities that match a child's interests and preferences enhances the child's motivation to participate and learn.
  3. Because the teaching takes place in the natural setting of the classroom, the child is more likely to use the newly learned skill by him- or herself in familiar environments.
  4. When the teacher provides ELOs several times during the day and during different activities, the child's ability to use the skill in a variety of situations is increased.

The Basic Steps

Using ELOs sounds like a natural thing to do. However, teachers must plan very carefully to ensure that during the teaching episodes, children with special needs are able to adequately practice their skills. Seven basic steps are necessary for planning and implementing ELOs:

  1. Clarify the learning objective and determine the criterion.
  2. Gather baseline information to determine the child's current level of performance.
  3. Use an activity matrix to select activities, learning centers, or classroom routines in which instruction can reasonably be embedded.
  4. Design the instructional interaction, and write it on a planning form. You can use an ELO-at-a-Glance (see a sample in the free download above), which tells exactly what will happen during a teaching episode (adapted from McCormick & Feeney's "IEP-at-a-Glance" [1995]).
  5. Implement the instruction as planned, remembering these tips:

    • Give clear instructions.
    • Let the child respond.
    • Provide feedback.

  6. Keep track of the opportunities provided.
  7. Periodically check to find out if the child has achieved the objective.
  8. Adapted from Building Blocks for Teaching Preschoolers with Special Needs, Second Edition by Susan R. Sandall & Ilene S. Schwartz.

    Example: How to help Samisha increase her cooperative play skills

    One of Samisha's learning objectives focused on increasing her cooperative play skills with peers. One of the ways Samisha's teachers decided to work on this was to embed planned teaching and learning opportunities in the classroom's free-choice time. The classroom features a learning center where the children can play with board games, such as Lotto. During free-choice time, Gia and David planned to invite Samisha to the game table when other children who were more skilled players would be there. David then used prompts and encouragement to help Samisha learn the game and play cooperatively with her peers.

    In this example, instead of setting up a special or separate time for Samisha to learn and practice cooperative play skills, her teachers did some extra planning so that they could embed the necessary instruction (in this case, using systematic prompting and encouragement) within the ongoing free-choice activities. More specifically:

    Samisha's learning objective states that during play times, Samisha will join her peers in play and maintain play with them for 10 minutes or more in cooperative play activities. She will demonstrate this in four different play areas. Samisha's teachers completed the Child Assessment Worksheet, examined their daily schedule, and observed and took notes on Samisha's play during free-choice time. They noted that Samisha can take part in coooperative play in the dramatic play area but only if she initiates the story line. Even then, her cooperative play lasts only a couple of minutes. Gia and David also noted that Samisha has started to watch other children play games in the table game center.

    One of the important considerations for Samisha's teachers is that there are six children with disabilities in the classroom, and many of the children have objectives that could be embedded during free-choice time. Gia and David need to be creative and realistic about how to use their time and resources. They decided to embed instruction on cooperative play at the table game center. Once Samisha is successful, they will work on this objective in other play areas. The current plan means that one adult will work with three or four children. The structure of the game and systematic use of prompting will help Samisha learn to play with the other children. The teachers developed an ELO-at-a-Glance for Samisha.

    To maximize their time and resources, Gia and David could decide to use this same activity during free-choice time to embed instruction for another child in the class. Joey is one of Samisha's classmates. He also likes to play at the game table. This could be a prime time for the teacher (who is already there) to embed instruction on one of Joey's objectives: Joey will release a handheld object onto or into a larger target with either hand. The teachers select the game's playing pieces with Joey in mind and then use the slight minimal assistance he needs to help him place the playing piece on the appropriate section of the board game.

    See Samisha's sample Child Assessment Worksheet and ELO-at-a-Glance in the free dowload above.