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The Whole Child Approach

A teaching strategy that uses social-emotional learning to create the best learning outcomes for all levels and stages of development.

Introduction

At The Little Campus, we’ve created a warm, safe and loving environment for our children — a space where the uniqueness of each child is respected and supported.

From babies to preschoolers, we encourage children to grow and learn using the Whole Child Approach. This teaching strategy uses social-emotional learning to create the best learning outcomes for all levels and stages of development.

What is the Whole Child Approach

The objective of the Whole Child Approach is to ensure a child’s overall development, and help improve each student’s academic performance as they grow. The approach aims to provide all children with the assistance and structure for attaining long-term success in all areas of their lives. When children of all ages are encompassed by the Whole Child concepts (see below), they are able to learn to the best of their ability, becoming well-functioning individuals.

The Five Pillars

The teacher’s role in the Whole Child Approach is to encourage students to grow in every area. A “whole child” is curious, creative, caring, empathetic and confident.

There are five key pillars to the Whole Child:

1.Healthy

It is crucial to educate children on the importance of making healthy decisions in their everyday lives. Whether it’s eating the right foods, engaging in regular exercise, or practicing mindfulness, we put a strong importance on your child’s overall health at TLC. From infants and babies to toddlers and preschoolers, we provide the following age-appropriate activities to encourage children to practice healthy living every day:

Yoga & Mindfulness

Yoga creates a balance between strength and flexibility in little developing bodies. It helps them grow strong while maintaining the flexibility they were born with. Even at the baby stage, the poses and stretches for infants aid in digestion and help relieve constipation, gas and colic.

As children develop, yoga is a great way to continue strengthening their bodies, calm their minds, and help them feel relaxed. Yoga also helps to improve sleeping patterns — both in duration and frequency — and encourages sleeping well at night too. Playful yoga songs and activities make the experience fun for little ones of all ages and stages!

Mindfulness and meditation are introduced at the toddler and pre-school stage, and the benefits are endless. Meditation can improve your child’s ability to focus, learn, self-regulate, elevate mood, and reduce stress and anxiety. The children at TLC practice meditation by learning breathing techniques, positive thinking and relaxation.

Physical Education

We expose children to physical activities that are both fun and age appropriate — both indoors and out! The Little Campus has over 5,000 square feet of outdoor space. We believe in as much outdoor and fresh air exposure as possible for children of all ages.

Infants aged 0-12 months need plenty of opportunities for free movement, in a safe environment. At TLC, we’ve created areas that encourage your child to explore and develop skills like reaching, tummy time, rolling, sitting up, crawling, pulling up and walking.

Toddlers and children aged 2-5 years need plenty of time to run around and play. Children at TLC engage in both indoor and outdoor free play, community walks, dance, gymnastics, ball sports and organized, non-competitive games.

Nutrition & Healthy Eating

We offer lunch and snacks by Toronto’s leading healthy catering company, Real Food for Real Kids.

Real Food for Real Kids’ mission is to provide children with nutritious meals and snacks, inspiring future generations to make healthier choices every day. Their foods contain no artificial anything, and all produce and farming is local to Ontario. Their menus are always developed with healthy bodies and delicious flavours in mind — trust me, my family has tasted it all, and it’s definitely kid-approved!

At TLC, we foster family-style eating — where everyone sits around a table trying new foods together. No child is forced to eat anything they don’t like, but we will encourage them to try different foods at their own pace. Truth be told, most don’t need much encouragement, especially when they see their friends digging in. It’s truly amazing to see the children make healthy choices!

When it comes to infants, we know that new little tummies need consistency. That’s why we feed our littlest ones exactly what their parents have provided us. Whether breast milk or formula, we make sure to stick with what is being fed at home.

Please note that The Little Campus is a nut-free facility. As such, there are absolutely no nuts permitted inside the building. We kindly ask that families are mindful of what they are feeding their child prior to coming to school, and diligent about keeping children with food allergies safe. For example, if your child had peanut butter for breakfast, please ensure that they have washed their hands, and that there are no remnants on their bodies or clothing. In cases where a little one in your child’s room has additional and/or different food allergies, we will ask for your cooperation in refraining from bringing those items into the classroom as well.

2.Safe

A child must feel safe and secure in their surroundings in order to engage in learning. This starts by encouraging harmonious relationships with their peers. Social learning at TLC begins right at the baby stage all the way through to pre-school. Our programming uses elements of the Ontario Ministry of Education's model of “How learning Happens.”

It is also important that children feel a sense of belonging and well-being. This refers to a sense of connectedness to others, an individual’s experiences of being valued, of forming relationships with others, and making contributions as part of a group, a community or the natural world.

Well-being addresses the importance of physical and mental health and wellness. It incorporates capacities such as self-care, sense of self, and the ability to self-regulate.

Classroom safety and school environment is of the utmost importance at The Little Campus. Each room at TLC has been designed to ensure the physical safety of all children. We pay attention to every little detail, like locking and securing heavy furniture to the wall, and making sure free-standing furniture is low enough to guarantee no child will go unnoticed — even during a game of hide-and-seek! We maintain sanitary and clutter-free classrooms, always.

3.Engaged

We help engage students in learning through play. We implement interactive projects and creative lessons taught and facilitated by teachers — but often inspired by what the children are interested in.

Play is essentially governed by the needs and wishes of the child. It is through play that children develop the use of all their senses. It is a forum through which a child practices creativity, socialization, life skills and cognitive development. It is through play that we see the very important expression of all emotions.

Your child will engage in a variety of hands-on activities. Whether it’s getting our hands messy (literally and figuratively!) with paint or sitting outside under a tree for storytime, we ensure the children are always stimulated in creative ways. Increased interest and motivation help enhance student engagement and participation, which are key factors to classroom learning.

When children are able to explore the world around them with their natural curiosity and exuberance, they are fully engaged. Through this type of inquisitive play at TLC, your little one will develop skills such as problem-solving, creative thinking, and innovating — which are essential for learning and success in school and beyond.

Expression or communication (to be heard as well as to listen) can take many different forms. Through their bodies, words, and use of materials, children will develop capacities for increasingly complex communication. We will give ample opportunities for students to explore materials that support their creativity, problem-solving and mathematical behaviours. Language-rich environments support growing communication skills, which are foundational for literacy.

4.Supported

At TLC, we believe that support is key to an overall successful experience at school. That is why our Director has been certified through the renowned Child’s Behaviour Certification Program, through The Early Years by Sharyn Timerman.

She based the program’s philosophy on the belief that children are a privilege and a gift that the family and community can appreciate. She believes it is critical to motivate and inspire children while setting rules and guidelines, helping them acquire habits, goals, and knowledge that lead to becoming well-functioning adults. The goal is to celebrate individuality and to help children become independent thinkers. Lastly, the mission of this program is to support the notion that all children can be taught to do good in the world simply for the sake of doing good.

RECE teachers and assistants at The Learning Campus have all attended professional development courses based on “The Child Behaviour Certification Program.”

When it comes to infants and babies, we pay close attention to each baby’s cues. We very quickly learn when your baby is trying to communicate that they’re happy, sad or in need of something. We take a very individualized approach to make sure all babies are heard even when they can’t speak. We know that infants and babies require lots of stimulation, sensory activities, cuddles and sleep. We provide it all, and we even have a few “Baby Whisperers” on staff!

As language develops, we encourage the children to use their voice, share their thoughts and opinions, and ask questions. Our goal for children of all ages is to feel confident, heard, and accepted within the classroom, and by their teachers and friends.

5.Challenged

At the child’s individual level, teachers will offer rich learning experiences through literacy, numeracy, social education, the arts, math, science and physical education. The Little Campus has its very own reading program, created by owner Tami Zuckerman. Tami holds a Bachelor of Education degree, and is specially certified in Early Literacy.

It is important to note that while children will be challenged at their individual level, we only promote learning that is positive, age appropriate and fun. There is no room for frustration — a child will never be pushed beyond their limits. For example, a child who is not showing signs of reading readiness will be brought up to speed at their own pace with emergent literacy activities. Making sure a child is ready for the next level in any subject is key to their future academic success. It is vital that we motivate any child that is demonstrating signs of frustration. We do this to alleviate the risk of turning them off of a given subject.

Closing Remarks

At The Little Campus, we commit to focusing on all of the Whole Child Approach concepts mentioned above. We will weave it into all aspects of our programming, ensuring optimal learning and healthy development. And we will do so with tender loving care.

We can’t wait to meet your little one!