"At a time when Toronto'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 85,000 students and 3,300 teachers are registered participants in this unique 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.
The season launch of the program, held at Air Canada Centre on Tuesday, included Toronto Maple Leafs Captain Mats Sundin, teacher Cyndi Kappukatt and her students from Toronto's Heritage Park Public School and Toronto Maple Leafs President Ken Dryden.
"Hockey may not be followed or understood by everyone, but little else offers us a more common reference point," said Dryden. "People learn better when presented with what they already know to help them understand what they don't."
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 Kappukatt. "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, allows teachers maximum flexibility 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