Early Childhood Intervention Program (ECIP)

Please visit the Preschool Enrollment page to find current scheduling and application information for interested families.

What is ECIP?

The ECIP is a multi-sensory preschool program that serves both children with and without Individualized Education Plans (IEP) from the Somerville Community. ECIP has a mix of substantially separate classes and integrated classes. The integrated classes consist of up to 15 students in which less than half of the children have an identified disability.

The program uses the same benchmarks and curriculum as the prekindergarten program and is based on a developmental model where each child builds on his or her own skills. A language based developmental model is offered because children learn differently and at different rates. Individual as well as small and large group activities are designed to ensure that all children are challenged and that all children learn.

Who are the people in the ECIP classrooms?

Each class is led by a highly trained certified Special Education teacher.

In addition to the classroom teacher, each room has a paraprofessional who has experience working with different types of learners.

A Speech Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist and School Adjustment Counselor may provide services to the children who have an individualized education program (IEP).

What are the criteria for community peers?

In order to be considered for a placement in an integrated classroom, the potential peers must be three years old by August 31, 2024 and a resident of Somerville. All peer students must be fully toilet trained with no pull ups.

Parents/guardian should carefully consider the list of questions offered on this website to help them decide if their child would be a good peer for this program.

If your child is accepted into the program as a peer, and has a happy and successful year, the staff strongly recommends that your child continue in the program for a second year.

How would my child benefit from being a community peer?

We envision that children who participate in ECIP learn at an early age that while each individual is different, each individual nevertheless has much to offer, and thus belongs to our community.

Children will expand their own world and learn tolerance and acceptance of children with various needs.

All children develop self-esteem, cooperative play skills, problem solving skills, school readiness skills and social skills.

The curriculum, which is the same as all public preschools in Somerville, is based on the state standards and frameworks.

Our integrated classes have a low student to teacher ratio and a language-enriched environment.

How can I tell if my child is ready to be a community Peer?

Ask yourself these questions to help you decide if your child may be a community peer:

Is my child easily understood by people outside my family?
Does my child play well with peers, including parallel play for a three year old and turn taking and sharing for a four year old?
Is my child fully toilet trained?
Does my child enjoy meeting new friends?
Can my child listen to a story for 5-7 minutes?
Is my child social?
Can my child cooperate and follow directions?
Does my child enjoy age appropriate activities?
Does my child ask for help?
Is my child willing to try new things?

When are ECIP classes held?

Classes are held from 8:30 am -1:45 pm; Monday through Friday.

Given the short daily schedule for the ECIP program, do children receive breakfast and/or lunch?

Children have the opportunity to participate in the school breakfast and lunch program on days when ECIP is in session.

Does the ECIP program include recess time?

Recess is offered daily either in the gymnasium or outdoors.


Separate from the SPS preschool programs, the district also offers afterschool programming for students ages 4 and older, based on a lottery system through a separate enrollment process from ECIP enrollment. Somerville Community Schools offers afterschool programming until 5:30 p.m. at all preschool sites, but there are limited spaces available for families that register during their enrollment period, students must be 4 years old to participate, and families are charged a weekly rate. Visit the Community Schools webpage to learn more.

How are student's medical or physical needs addressed?

A school nurse on staff the at the Capuano Center oversees any medical needs or emergencies.

Do you need more information?

Please contact Capuano Special Education Department Head Susan Gibbons.