At a time when Ontario's education system is feeling the pinch of shrinking budgets, programs such as TD Waterhouse Leafs @ School are making a difference. Proof is in the numbers, more than 60,000 students and 3,300 teachers are registered participants in this free web-based educational tool designed for grades four through six.
The program helps students learn complex subjects by using the Toronto Maple Leafs as a reference point and the excitement of pro hockey to motivate learning.
The Toronto Maple Leafs opened their practice at Air Canada Centre to Leafs @ School participants on February 25, 2003 as a means of rewarding students for their participation.
According to Ken Dryden, president of the Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey Club, the program makes it easier for children to understand their lessons.
"Hockey may not be followed or understood by everyone, but little else offers us a more common reference point," he said. "People learn better when presented with what they already know to help them understand what they don't."
| All the kids couldn't wait to catch a glimpse of their hero, Mats Sundin. |
Graig Abel Photography
The TD Waterhouse Leafs @ School curriculum is available free to teachers on the web at www.leafsatschool.com and offers one extensive teaching unit that incorporates four subject areas: math, social studies, health and physical education and arts.
All are taught in the context of hockey to clarify complex ideas and illustrate them using the various elements of hockey. The excitement of the Maple Leafs helps to create enthusiasm for learning with fun elements such as the new "A Day in the Life of Mats Sundin" unit.
"Leafs @ School is an excellent tool for sparking kids' interest in the curriculum, making topics fun and easier to understand," said Cyndi Kappukatt, teacher on the Leafs @ School advisory board. "Since it's flexible, ready to use and easily downloaded, teachers will be able to generate enthusiasm in the classroom while making direct connections to the curriculum."
The newly revised curriculum was developed by an advisory board of teachers, education administrators and researchers in the Greater Toronto Area, in accordance with the Ontario educational curriculum. TD Waterhouse Leafs @ School offers a number of activities and is effective with a variety of different learning styles and academic capabilities.
"TD Waterhouse is proud to sponsor the Leafs @ School program," said John See, CEO, TD Waterhouse Discount Brokerage. "Leafs @ School gives us another opportunity to support young people by combining two of the things that make a big difference to kids - education and sports. And by supporting programs that utilize the Internet we are empowering our children for tomorrow."
The Leafs @ School program is supported throughout the year by Toronto Maple Leafs player appearances at schools in the community. For more information on the program, log-on to www.leafsatschool.com