What is the whole-child approach?

The whole-child approach to teaching supports and nurtures all areas of children’s development and learning–from social-emotional and cognitive skills to literacy, math, and science understanding–and is a powerful strategy as preschool children transition to kindergarten. It encourages children’s learning and thinking by being responsive to children’s understandings, interests, and abilities, allowing them to deepen their natural curiosity and their eagerness to want to discover and learn more.

The early childhood years provide a unique opportunity to develop and shape children’s social-emotional skills. In fact, research shows that children’s social skills in kindergarten are early indicators of their success in adulthood.

In an early childhood classroom, it’s highly beneficial to focus on academic expectations and to emphasize standards and literacy and math skills, but as educators of future citizens of the world, we also want to make sure that children’s social-emotional development coexists and flourishes along with their academics.


Teaching Strategies has provided early childhood educators with innovative, research-proven, effective resources to help build a strong foundation for our youngest learners. Within the program are many resources for both teachers and families to track their child’s development, providing inspired, developmentally appropriate learning experiences, whether in a distance learning, traditional classroom, or hybrid model setting.

For more information explore the Teaching Strategies website:

The Cloud is a new extension of the curriculum, providing even more resources for teachers and families. With this digital curriculum we will be able to access early childhood curriculum resources online to bring a content-rich, developmentally appropriate curriculum to life in an early childhood classroom or at home with families.

We know that children’s learning outcomes dramatically improve when families and teachers work together. Ready Rosie is a program that helps with that. This program will help families guide their children as they learn from home, with support from teachers. It is available for all our students in Head Start and Early Head start whether they are distance learning from home or attending in person. We are here to help and support families through these challenging times.

Here is an intro video to explain what Ready Rosie is:

Social-emotional learning classroom kits and online resources to help your littlest learners harness their energy and potential.

For more information:

Conscious Discipline provides an array of behavior management strategies and classroom structures that teachers can use to turn everyday situations into learning opportunities. It is a proven, comprehensive approach that empowers you with skills that create a safe, connected, problem-solving environment for families. The mission using this as a resource is to provide every adult with the inspiration, knowledge and skills to implement Conscious Discipline, improving children’s lives for generations.

To learn more:

The Incredible Years® is a series of interlocking, evidence-based programs for parents, children, and teachers, supported by over 30 years of research. The goal is to prevent and treat young children's behavior problems and promote their social, emotional, and academic competence. The programs are used worldwide in schools and mental health centers, and have been shown to work across cultures and socioeconomic groups.

Revitalizing Ojibwe culture and language within our program is of great importance here at Leech Lake Early Childhood.

Ignite by Hatch is an app that engages children in play and teacher directed activities as well as tracks their progress. These learning experiences are personalized to meet the children where they are at developmentally. Ignite by Hatch is a research based digital learning platform that is used in conjunction with the Creative Curriculum. Ignite offers 203 play-based experiences for children ages 28 months to 5 years old that assist with preparation for kindergarten. The Tablets with Ignite by Hatch are used by the students in the Head Start Classrooms, as well as those enrolled in the Distance Learning Program. The recommended time for children to “play” on the Ignite app is 30 minutes per week.

Resources for families about Hatch:

What Children Learn

SNAP-Ed outdoor classroom snowshoeing


Child Assessment Process

Leech Lake Head Start/Early Head Start Programs utilize Teaching Strategies GOLD (TSG) as our on-going child assessment tool. The child’s everyday interactions with others and the environment are captured and recorded by teachers either by written notes, pictures, or videos. These child observations and recordings are in the moment, as they are happening, and are referred to as “authentic observations”. These observations are written as seen without guessing how the child feels or why behaviors are occurring (objective). By recording in various ways, it makes the observations easy to remember so they can be added into the online software.

Once added into the software (TSG), the teacher identifies the skill levels (checkpoint ratings) within the progressions made up of widely held expectations for the age groups that we have in Early Head Start and Head Start. This helps the teacher understand the individual child’s needs based on developmental milestones (progressions). These progressions are color-coded and guide teachers toward selecting and adapting activities that support each child’s development and learning. The 10 areas of development and learning consist of social, emotional, cognitive, physical, language, literacy, science, technology, social studies, and the arts that make up the ‘whole child’ approach for which we strive.

The TSG software automatically connects assessment data and observations with daily instructional resources, creating an instantaneous and ongoing feedback loop of information to individualize learning and empower teachers to capture observations in the moment.

Family Engagement

Parents are their child's first and foremost teacher and advocate, so family engagement is extremely important.

Resources are available to allow families access to the resource library. Two-way communication [such as texting and Messenger, is solely between parent/guardian and child’s teacher] is also available and may assist in including family observations. Teachers can seamlessly integrate those family observations into their documentation to inform checkpoint ratings whether in traditional classrooms or distance learning settings.

Please inform your child’s teacher if you are interested in learning more.