• Portsmouth Early Childhood Program



  • Integrated Preschool

    Rated 4 Stars

    The Portsmouth School District's preschool program is located at Melville School.  It is a special education program designed for children who have an identified disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  Research shows that children with disabilities benefit from being instructed with non-disabled peers, and with this in mind, Portsmouth invites community partners to participate in our program.  

    In our classroom, children with and without disabilities have the opportunity to learn and grow together in a high quality, stimulating and nurturing environment.  Each classroom is staffed by one certified teacher and one or two paraprofessionals, and there are up to 15 children in each session.  We are rated four out of a maximum of five stars in Brightstars, RI's tiered quality rating and improvement system.  

    For community partners, we have the following offerings for the 2020-21 School Year:

    • Four afternoons per week- Tuesday through Friday, 12:30 to 2:30PM.  
    • Five mornngs per week, Monday through Friday, 9:00 to 10:30 AM

    Tuition for the PM program is $1,577.00 per year; $1,051.00 per year for those who qualify for the free or reduced lunch program; and for the AM Program, $1,418.00 per year; $945.00 per year for those who qualify for the free or reduced lunch program.   Tuition is pro-rated for late enrollment in our program.  


    Our classrooms are open to preschool children aged three through five.  To be eligible, children must turn three on or before September 1 of the school year and may not turn five prior to or on September 1 of the school year.  Children who are eligible for kindergarten (i.e. celebrating fifth birthday on or before September 1 of the school year) are not eligible to be community partners in our preschool.  

    All children must be residents of Portsmouth, and children without disabilities must be fully potty trained.  Children must meet all requirements for registration with the Portsmouth School Department.  Bus transportation is not provided for community partners.  There is limited enrollment for community partners, and not all applicants can be selected for the program.

    We require that all community partner applicants participate in our Child Outreach Screening process before being considered for our program.  Please visit our child outreach webpage to schedule your child’s screening appointment.  We also require participation in a classroom play date where we can observe your child in regard to our entry comptencies.  

    Tuition is pro-rated for children who enroll after the official first day of the program, but not for early withdrawal from the program. Tuition is paid in two equal installments (cash or check), due August and January. 

      Instruction is aligned with the RI Early Learning and Development Standards.  For more information about RIELDS, click here.

  • For information about Portsmouth preschool and early childhood special education programs, please contact

    Deana Dufficy, 401-683-1650 x5038 dufficyd@portsmouthschoolsri.org


    Special Education Services

    For children eligible under IDEA, we provide a full range of special education and related services:

    -Specialized Instruction

    -Speech-Language Therapy

    -Physical Therapy

    -Occupational Therapy

    Services are provided in one of our preschool classrooms or through regular appointments, on a walk-in basis, according to each child's individual needs.