Business Profile: The Whole Child provides supportive environment at Summer Academy

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A special five-week, full-day summer program is in store for rising fourth- through eighth-graders at The Whole Child, Inc., in neighboring Upton, starting July 12. The program supports youngsters through academic tutoring, social empowerment groups, enrichment activities and weekly trips to area attractions.

“We’re dedicated to empowering our youth with the broad skills needed to live a happy life in today’s world,” stated Sara Guerra, director of administration.

Therapeutic tutoring will focus on math, science, guided reading and writing, with differentiated instruction for each child’s learning style. Enrichment opportunities include art, music and wellness. Children may read a story and then create an artistic impression of the experience or write poetry, set their words to music and discuss the feelings music awakens in them.

“Our enrichment activities will introduce children to things they may have never experienced before,” added Guerra. “We’ll also focus on wellness and healthy living by incorporating yoga, general movement and outdoor play.”

The majority of individuals enrolled in programming are on the autism spectrum with a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior. Other participants are coping with extreme shyness, anxiety or social trauma. Because participants typically struggle with social emotional wellness, individuals will learn how to play and make friends in small, similar-aged groups.

Guerra has two children on the spectrum and has experienced first-hand their joy and growth through The Whole Child’s regular curriculum. Listening to parents and understanding students’ needs, Guerra developed the Summer Academy program, weaving in the teaching of target skills throughout.

“The children will be having so much fun,” Guerra noted, “they may not realize how much they’re learning.”

Skills will include communication, social emotional, self-advocacy, sensory-motor, student and organizational skills, human relations and health knowledge. The Summer Academy is in addition to all other programming available at The Whole Child.

Guerra describes the learning environment as a safe and comfortable one where children can be themselves and always find support and encouragement.

A registered nonprofit organization, The Whole Child, Inc. strives to service any family that needs help, regardless of their ability to pay.

To learn more or register for the Summer Academy, visit thewholechildmatters.org.

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