The Meredith Autism Program (MAP) inclusive preschool program enrolls five neurotypical children, ages three years to five years old.  These children must be potty trained and have no diagnosis or issues with social/emotional development.  

Children enrolled at MAP for autism services are also included in the classroom according to their individualized treatment plan as part of their full-time services.  There would be a maximum of ten children in the classroom at one time.  Our classroom is inclusive to families of all religious and ethnic backgrounds


  • Enrollment is now open and slots are available for neurotypical children between the ages of 3-5 years old for five mornings per week.
  • To apply, fill out the online form
  • Tuition: $350 per month for 5 mornings a week. Families will enroll for the entire academic calendar, with the exception of the two weeks in December when Meredith College is closed, and few staff development workdays for MAP staff.
  • Tours are available upon request. Please contact MAP via email: autism@meredith.edu

About the Explorers Classroom

The Explorers classroom is an inclusive preschool placement for children on the autism spectrum enrolled at MAP.  Children enrolled are included throughout the week with a trained MAP assistant for 3.5 to 10.5 hours each week, depending on the child’s abilities. The Explorers classroom is not an ABA classroom, but one using developmentally appropriate practice, focusing on social and emotional development. The goal is for children participating in our ABA program to take learned skills and make them functional in a typical, small group setting.  Neurotypical children from the community serve as peer models to help teach social and communication skills, while also learning school readiness skills and developing empathy and compassion for others.  Our classroom is play-based and we use several teaching strategies to focus on a variety of domains as we develop foundational skills in young preschoolers through incidental teaching.  We target social-emotional development through cooperation and self-regulation techniques. 

Operation Details

The Explorers classroom is a half day program which operates from the beginning of September through the end of May. The preschool day runs from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Children eat one snack and a lunch at school, provided by the child’s caregiver. 

Classroom Management & Emotional Development

Our classroom uses Conscious Discipline as a behavior support system. Conscious Discipline is an adult first, emotional intelligence model developed by Dr. Becky Bailey. Based on current brain research, conscious discipline empowers adults and children to build positive relationships. The classroom is transformed into a school family where children learn tools to regulate their emotions and solve problems during teachable moments throughout the day. The school family climate encourages children to be helpful and kind, creating an environment where children feel safe to learn.  Children will learn tools to help them regulate their own behavior and be able to “keep it safe” in the classroom. We will breathe and talk about our feelings to gain better self-control and self-awareness. Conscious discipline is evidence based and used in all aged classrooms, as well as with adults.

Some of the basic principles used with this practice include (but are not limited to):

  • Safety – Everything in the classroom is framed around safety.  The teacher is the safe keeper whose job is to keep the children safe.  The children’s job is to help keep it safe.   The traditional rules of a classroom are transformed into positive statements of ways to help keep it safe.
  • Community – The classroom is a school family where everyone plays a part to contribute to its success.  Everyone has a job and plays a part in the daily operations of the class.  We encourage each other to be helpful and kind.
  • Connection – The school family is the foundation of the connection in the classroom.  Teachers make meaningful connections to students and students make meaningful connections with each other.  Those connections motivate everyone in the classroom to contribute to its success.  We are all in this together!
  • Self-Regulation – Children are taught the skills necessary to calmly respond to strong emotions.  Through breathing and using your big voice, children are able to respond to situations that create those emotions.  Practice during calm moments leads to success when emotions arise.

Curriculum & Teaching Strategies

Our classroom also uses Letterland from the UK to teach letters and phonics through a multi-sensory approach.   Letters come alive for the children through loveable characters and memorable stories that make learning letter shapes and sounds fun.  Most Wake County schools have adopted the Letterland curriculum for use in Kindergarten through 2nd grade.  Introducing children to the characters and stories of Letterland in preschool gives them a head start to literacy success.

The Explorers classroom incorporates the Handwriting Without Tears program to teach pre-writing and writing skills for children. As the Kindergarten curriculum becomes more and more rigorous it is important for children to have a solid foundation of writing skills prior to entering Kindergarten.  The Handwriting Without Tears readiness and writing curriculum exposes children to pre-writing skills in a fun and engaging way that can be tailored to each child’s needs and builds on their current ability level.  Children will use the Get Set for School workbook along with hands-on materials and songs as they explore letters and writing.  The readiness and writing curriculum focus on correct crayon grip, drawing, letter building, letter and number recognition.  The curriculum also focuses on correct letter formation using multi-sensory manipulatives. This program progressively develops fine motor strength and helps children work on the skills needed for their developmental level.

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Meredith Autism Program

The Meredith Autism Program is an early intervention program serving children who are diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

The Meredith Autism Program is an early intervention program serving children who are diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

Contact Information 
Meredith Autism Program
3800 Hillsborough St.
Raleigh, NC 27607-5298
(919) 760-8080
Fax: (919) 760-8818
autism@meredith.edu
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