The human being is an organic entity having various aspects, which together form a whole and complex system. Holistic education regards people as fundamentally spiritual and capable of acquiring knowledge. Human dignity and nobility are the primary values introduced in this system. The human body is comprised of complex and interdependent systems and organs. The development or injury of one part of the body is felt by and affects the functioning of the other parts. Similarly, holistic education presents the development of children as a totality with all aspects of their learning experience interconnected with other aspects of their reality. Though human experience is made up of components and evolves through a process, it is nevertheless, one multifaceted whole. Progress or regress in a particular area will profoundly alter the course of learning in other areas.
Holism in the curriculum therefore approaches the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual aspects of human beings simultaneously. Roger White Academy endorsed this approach to education, building on the nobility and dignity of children and empowering them to approach learning as a sustainable process of growth carried throughout human life.
Plants simultaneously need water, sunshine, nutrients, fresh air and a nurturing setting. These components are also interdependent. If the plant is given much sunshine, it will require more water. All the needs of the plant must be met adequately and at the same time.
A curriculum oriented exclusively towards academic achievement, but devoid of artistic, ethical, and social interaction may, in the short run, produce scholars and high academic achievers while in the long run may not be able to produce balanced human beings capable of serving their selves, their family and humanity at large. Recent research by the Canadian Human Resources Department finds that many adults, despite high I.Q. (intelligence quotient) and competency in their fields, cannot hold jobs and are considered more disposable because of their low E.Q. (emotional quotient).
At Roger White Academy, children were encouraged to aspire to become active members of the human family as the foundation on which to attain their academic, artistic and physical potential.
The school customized the Ontario curriculum to reflect each child’s individual learning needs and style. Because of the small size of the school children received focused, individualized attention from each teacher. Each child’s strengths and weaknesses were understood which enabled the teacher to structure the program to allow the child to progress at their own pace. The school firmly believed in the unique nature of each child, that each child grew and developed at their own pace. The school did not enforce studying only at the grade level demanded by age, but encouraged students to master concepts, and advance to the next level whenever they displayed readiness. It was not uncommon at Roger White Academy to have a child working at different grade levels in each subject. This method fostered a child’s confidence, providing positive reinforcement for their areas of strength that in turn, builds the self-confidence and self-esteem necessary to tackle their weaker subject areas. At Roger White, children were not limited by the grade level and were encouraged to explore, discuss and question everything.
Roger White Academy opened at 8:00 a.m. Children could be dropped at school from 8:00 – 8:40 a.m. when the school day begins. Children began the school day with songs, quotes of the day and a short discussion of the virtue of the week. Classes ran from 8:45 – 3:00 p.m. with supervised lunch from 12:00 – 12:45 p.m. and an optional, supervised homework room from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Children had to be picked up by 4:00.
Twice a week the students received Karate instruction from a qualified Karate instructor. Art, dance, drama and music were also included in the curriculum on a weekly basis.
The school uniform consisted of navy blue pants/skirt/shorts/, white shirts/blouses/Polo shirt (long and short-sleeved), red sweaters and black shoes for every day wear. A karate outfit had to be purchased. Navy blue shorts and white T-shirts were required for dance and other physical education classes.