A Special Recipe for Personal Well-being and Learning Success
It’s not just a school.
“It’s like a rehab facility for your soul. You are here to do school, but you just find out so much about yourself and what you’re actually capable of. It really just lets you discover who you are.”
The Right Environment
Children learn best in environments that are comfortable, stimulating, and playful. Whytecliff’s physical environments are designed to promote feelings of warmth, safety and calm by using smaller rooms, cozy chairs, special lighting, textured wall coverings and warm, muted colours. Not only do children learn better, they also miss fewer classes.
The Right Experiences
We use our local communities as an external learning lab so that children can grow more confident of their place in the world around them. Children are exposed to sport, culture and trades through work experiences and volunteer work in the community. For example, we greatly appreciate our relationship with the Sarah McLachlan School of Music and Arts Umbrella. Through these experiences, children reach a fuller understanding of themselves and acquire a sense of direction for their future vocation and life beyond school. This approach allows all children (and particularly, First Nations children) attending our programs to explore, discover and deepen their cultural background.
The Right Involvement
We don’t overwhelm kids with learning challenges. We promote a realistic learning plan that tackles one or two courses at a time, with a curriculum that integrates courses which tap into each child’s interests and build from their strengths. We are very patient. If a child needs a year for one course, we’ll let them take their time. Frequently, once they’ve found their feet, their performance will improve dramatically in following years.
The Right Relationships
Relationships between students and staff are at the heart of education and learning. They are the social spark and glue that foster emotional growth, task completion and goal achievement. Our low student to staff ratio of 5 or 6 to 1 allows our competent, warm, encouraging staff to see the world through each youth’s eyes, enabling them to be effective, caring, and empathetic educators. Children at Whytecliff feel cared about and are encouraged to care about each other.
The Right Learning Community
Children who have experienced isolation and loneliness need to feel that they belong and are part of a true community. At Whytecliff, we involve children in active experiences of both individualized group programs and teamwork. Working in concert with others, they experience trust, respect, and empowerment. Feelings of belonging, acceptance and caring increase, and a positive sense of personal identity builds.