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This month we want to tell you more about the “Teach Me Too—Preschoolers with Learning Needs” program of Lutheran Special Education Ministries, recipients of an $80,000 grant from Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) in the 2019–2021 biennium.

Lutheran Special Education Ministries (LSEM) has seen a growing desire for early intervention support of children with learning needs. In 2017, LSEM successfully launched into preschool education for exceptional children with learning needs by establishing the Let It Shine Academy. The academy was designed to administer intervention strategies and address the unique needs of children with autism spectrum disorder in an early learning environment. By reaching out and serving these children early in their learning years, they provide tools, strategies and support to help these learners succeed now and as their education continues. They help them to be successful learners. This preschool creates a place where God’s Word can be shared with these children.

LSEM is currently directly serving children at 59 schools and churches in eleven states. LSEM has received special requests by schools to present preschool-specific training for their staff. They have completed school visits to perform observations and assessments numerous times. With statistics suggesting that one in five children have a learning need, and many more areas across the United States where LSEM sees the need to serve preschool and early childhood children with learning needs, there is great call for growth and expansion of their services.

Organizations professing their faith within the context of academic instruction are not eligible to receive financial support from the government through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. LSEM, unable to receive public funding, relies on partnership fees and donations.

The LWML mission grant will provide funding to:

  • support educational and spiritual growth among preschool aged children by growing the Let it Shine Academy to include more students and be a witness of God’s love for all His children;
  • provide scholarship funding for children in need whose families cannot afford the cost of the Let It Shine program;
  • support children and families who need assistance and education but are not part of an LSEM partnership program; and
  • educate preschool teachers in methods of early intervention for children who have a learning need.

Lutheran Women's Missionary League (LWML) is the official women’s auxiliary of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Since 1942, the LWML has focused on affirming each woman’s relationship with Christ, encouraging and equipping women to live out their Christian lives in active mission ministries and by supporting global missions. For more information on each month’s mission focus, visit Saint John’s Mission Guild (LWML) meets the first Tuesday of each month at 10:30 AM in Room 301. All ladies of the congregation are invited to attend.