The New Milford public school system is seeking new students for its integrated Experiential Center for Early Learning program at Hill and Plain, John Pettibone and Northville elementary schools.

Applications will be accepted through March 1.

The program's curriculum is developmental and includes activities such as play, circle time, art, music, movement and story time.

School officials said the EXCEL program "is a reverse-mainstream school (meaning it) provides services for children with special needs and their typical peers together in one setting."

"While these children would receive the benefit of a high-quality preschool program, they also serve as role models for the special needs children," school officials said in a press release. "Therefore it is important that the children who participate in the program demonstrate age-appropriate skills."

In particular, the role model children should possess strong language skills and social skills to encourage interaction among all the children.

The application process is a two-step process. Applicants will be asked to participate in a play-based classroom observation in March and, the following month, a lottery will take place to select students.

The number of students chosen for each school will depend upon special education enrollment.

The programs are committed to maintain at least a 50-50 ratio of community preschoolers to preschoolers with special needs.

The fee for 3-year-olds, who will meet four mornings a week, is $160 per month. The fee for 4-year-olds, who will attend five afternoons a week, is $180.

Tuition will be charged July (initial payment) and September through May.

Transportation must be provided by parents.

For information and registration, call 860-354-2654 or visit to download an application.