Children eligible for Program Unit Funding (PUF) from Alberta Education are eligible to become program children in CHEEP. To qualify for PUF a child must be between 3 years old (by December 31) and 5 years 11 months old by September 1, and have 1 documented severe delay/disorder (or two or more moderate delays/disorders in non-associated areas of development). As CHEEP only provides preschool, eligible children must be between 2 years, 8 months old and 4 ½ years old by September 1. Children may attend for a maximum of 2 years, if they continue to qualify for PUF in the second year. CHEEP supports parents in choosing the most appropriate programming option for Kindergarten (year 3), and works with families and receiving schools to make the transition as smooth as possible for children.
Children must be 3-years-old on September 1 to become community children in CHEEP. Community children are developing typically and are toilet trained. These young children provide peer models of speech, language, social skills, behavior, problem-solving skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, self-helps skills and preschool skills for the children in the classroom with special needs. Community children initially attend on a trial basis to ensure they are ready for the challenges of preschool. If concerns arise regarding a community child’s development CHEEP staff members will discuss this with the parents and support the family in finding access to assessment, as well as programming options.