Preschool Peer Model Program

All school districts are mandated to provide special education services for preschool children identified with disabilities. Olentangy’s preschool program is a special needs preschool program. Our program for preschool students with disabilities (children with special needs) includes classroom options that integrate typically-developing preschool students (peer models) with special needs students.

Please read 2024-25 Steps to Be Considered for a Peer Model for more details.

Frequently Asked Questions about Peer Models





Details of Peer Model Program

  • Preschool classes meet Tuesday through Friday. Approximate times are: morning session (9:15 am to 11:55 am ); afternoon session (1:15 pm to 3:55 pm).

  • Parents must provide transportation to and from school. No bus transportation will be provided for peer models.

  • Peer model tuition is $170/month (September thru May) for AM/PM sessions.

  • Preschool classrooms are not available in all elementary buildings. Location of preschool classrooms is determined after K-5 enrollment is complete and change every year. 

  • Child must meet the Peer Model Criteria (listed below) to be accepted as a peer model.

Peer Model Criteria

Peers serve as models of age-appropriate skills for children demonstrating delays in their development. For this reason, it is critical that peers demonstrate the skills listed below. If after a brief trial period, your child is not able to consistently demonstrate the criteria below within the preschool classroom, your child will not be able to continue to attend Olentangy preschool program as a peer model.

  • AGE REQUIREMENT: Children age 3 by February 1, 2024 are eligible to start the first day of the 24-25 school year. We have limited peer model spots in our specialized learning centers for children who are 3 by August 15, 2024. Please answer the following questions about your child's birthdate to help with placement ( If your child is not age 3 by August 15, 2024 please DO NOT apply and wait until the 25-26 school year).
  • Completely toilet trained

  • Separates easily from parents

  • Able to follow rules and routines

  • Can attend to a preferred/self-directed activity for at least 8 to 10 minutes

  • Can attend to an adult-selected activity for at least 4-5 minutes

  • Plays with a variety of toys appropriately

  • Able to play beside and/or with other children while sharing the same bin of toys

  • Speaks in clear English sentences

  • Talks to other children while playing

  • Speech is clear and understandable by unfamiliar adults

  • Can understand and answer simple questions in English

  • Demonstrates an ability to use crayons, scissors and glue to complete a project

  • Is well-coordinated and able to walk, run, jump and climb

If you have any concerns regarding your child’s speech/language, social, behavior, gross motor, fine motor, cognitive or adaptive behavior, please do not complete the peer model application. Contact our preschool offices at 740-657-4360, option 3.

If you are interested in having your child attend Olentangy Special Needs Preschool as a peer model and your child meets all of the peer model criteria (listed above), please complete a peer model application.

Research overwhelmingly supports the benefits of an inclusive setting for both groups of children.

Special Needs students benefit from exposure to peer models:

Children with special needs learn through observation, practice and modeling the behavior of their peers. As children with special needs observe and interact, the peer models are providing a model of age-appropriate skills in social, behavior, play, speech, language and motor skills.

Peer models benefit from the peer model program in the following ways:

  • Peers have opportunities to interact with children with a variety of special needs. Children learn compassion, tolerance, empathy and to accept/celebrate differences and similarities among the children in their classroom.

  • All teachers hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and are licensed to provide services for both regular education and special education students. The teachers are trained to be responsive to the individual abilities and interests of all children. Differing levels of ability and development are expected, appreciated and considered when designing appropriate learning activities for students with special needs and peer models.

  • Class sizes are small with low student to teacher ratios. Our integrated classrooms are staffed with additional assistants dependent upon the needs of the students in the classroom. Each class can have up to 16 students (up to 8 students with special needs and 8 peer models).

  • Each class receives support services from a team of related service specialists(occupational therapists, speech/language therapists and physical therapist). The related service staff bring their skills and training into the classroom environment, benefiting both peer models and students with special needs.

  • The curriculum is aligned to the state of Ohio Early Learning and Development Standards.

  • Preschool staff is knowledgeable about Olentangy kindergarten expectations, standards and curriculum. The Ohio Early Learning and Development Standards used in all of our preschool classrooms are aligned to the kindergarten learning standards. All learning opportunities are designed to help children enter kindergarten ready to learn.