Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for the program?

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. 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.

Is there a waiting list for CHEEP?
CHEEP begins an interest list for program children in January for the school year beginning the following September. As CHEEP is a very small program, serving only 20 children, we encourage families to explore a variety of programming options for their child. It is prudent to put a child's name on a number of waiting lists to secure a spot in a program that complements the parents' priorities for preschool and philosophy of early learning.
How many classes does CHEEP operate?

There are two classes operating each school year (one in the morning and one in the afternoon).

What are the hours?

Each class operates three hours per day, Tuesday through Thursday and some Fridays, from September through June. There is no class on Mondays.

  • The morning class runs from 8:25 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • The afternoon class runs from 12:25 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Where is the program located?
CHEEP operates out of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (formerly known as the Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology) at the University of Alberta. The preschool classroom is located in Corbett Hall on the south end of campus (just north of University Avenue between 114 Street and 112 Street).
Who works on the CHEEP team?

CHEEP employs a team of professionals including the following:

Program Coordinator - part-time
Certified Teacher - part-time in the classroom
Speech-Language Pathologist - full-time in the classroom
Therapist Assistant - full-time in the classroom
Occupational Therapist - one day each week in the program
Physical Therapist - one day each week in the program
Faculty Advisor - as needed

All CHEEP staff members are required to submit a Criminal Record Check (signed by a police officer) when they are employed and every three years thereafter.

CHEEP staff members who work directly with the children understand that children learn at individual rates and have varying learning styles. The staff members are knowledgeable in the areas of child development, positive classroom management strategies, appropriate teaching and intervention strategies to facilitate learning, and motivating and developmentally appropriate activities. CHEEP staff work on an inter-disciplinary team, learning from other professionals and teaching others about their area of expertise. Working on a team permits staff to integrate information from a variety of perspectives, and best meet the unique needs of each child.

What does a CHEEP class look like?
Each class includes 10 children with special needs. The SLP and therapist assistant work full-time in the program and the certified teacher works part-time. The occupational therapist spends one day per week working in the program and the physical therapists spends part of one day per week working in the program. The OT and PT both provide a combination of direct and indirect intervention to children with motor/sensory challenges. Speech-language pathology students frequently do placements in the program.
What kinds of activities do the children engage in?
  • Structured learning times (circle time, small group) to build language skills, preschool skills and social-emotional skills.
  • Less structured play opportunities (centre time) to allow exploration of own interests and choice making in a variety of play centres (dramatic play, manipulative centre, sensory centre, games, construction, book sharing, etc.).
  • A predictable classroom routine to enhance comprehension, reduce anxiety and prevent negative behaviours.
  • Daily gym/gross motor activities to build and enhance gross motor development.
  • Art activities and sensory exploration daily to build and refine fine motor skills and expand sensory experiences.
  • Snack time daily and a monthly collaborative cooking project.
  • Daily exposure to early literacy experiences.
  • Weekly music and movement experiences.
  • Field trips to solidify and extend classroom learning.
What are the program costs?
  • The program is free for children; programming costs are covered through Program Unit Funding, which is provided by Alberta Education for eligible children.
  • Parents/guardians are responsible to provide a snack for their child daily.
  • A field trip fee may be collected to help offset costs for field trips.
Does CHEEP offer Kindergarten?

CHEEP is a preschool program and does not offer Kindergarten programming. The CHEEP team support families of children who have used two years of Program Unit Funding and/or are five years old on September 1 to select an appropriate Kindergarten program. CHEEP staff members endeavour to ensure the transition to Kindergarten is as smooth as possible.

Does CHEEP offer bus service to school?

Unfortunately CHEEP is not able to offer bus service to and from school. This is due to the small number of children attending each class and the fact that children participating in CHEEP live in all areas of Edmonton. Parents/guardians are responsible to coordinate transportation to and from school for their child. Bus and LRT service to the University of Alberta is excellent. Parents/guardians are eligible for transportation funding (as available through Alberta Education).

Where do parents park when they drop off and pick up their child from CHEEP?

Parents of program children are able to purchase a CHEEP loading zone permit, at a small cost (purchased from the University of Alberta, through CHEEP staff). This permit allows parents/caregivers 15 to 30 minutes at arrival time and 15 to 30 minutes at dismissal time to park their vehicles in the parking lot adjacent to Corbett Hall (parking lot L) so they may safely drop off/pick up their children from CHEEP. The loading zone permit is operational between September and June. Parents who plan to join the class for a special activity, field trip, etc. are advised to purchase a day parking pass from the Parking Services dispenser.

How do CHEEP team members communicate with parents?
Open and frequent communication with parents is a priority for CHEEP staff members. The following means are used to facilitate communication between school and home:

  • Home-school communication folder
  • Informal conversations during drop-off and pick-up of children
  • Guided observations of classroom
  • IPP meetings (required in September and June; optional in February)
What is an Individual Program Plan (IPP)?

The IPP is a formal document written for each child accessing Program Unit Funding from Alberta Education. The inter-disciplinary team, including parents, begins writing the IPP in September. This document identifies the child's educational team, outlines the child's areas of strength, and indicates goals for the school year (general long term goals and specific short term goals) in the applicable developmental areas (fine motor, gross motor, communication, cognition, self-help, social-emotional development). Parents play an important role in identifying their child's strengths, in helping to select goals, and in helping the team review children's progress throughout the year. The IPP is formally reviewed in February and in June. Information in the IPP may be added, or modified as necessary throughout the year.