Whitko Little Cats Early Learning Center


Whitko Early Learning Academy, home of the Little Cats, is located on a 110 acre campus near Larwill, Indiana, inside the Whitko Career Academy. Our campus is conveniently located on State Road 5 just off of the US 30 corridor between Warsaw and Columbia City.

We follow the Whitko Community School calendar available on the Calendars page. If there are delays or closings, please be aware we will also be delayed or closed. We will be closed on the scheduled eLearning days for trainings and sanitation.

We are currently accepting enrollment applications for our Little Cats Preschool Early Learning Center (3-5), Kitten Care* (0-24m), Kitten Care* (2s & young 3s), and before and after school care for children in grades preschool and up.

Our high quality pre-k early learning program provides a safe and nurturing environment while promoting the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development of young children.

Spots are limited and filling up quickly. Reserve your spot today!

*Please click on our Programs page to learn more about our Kitten Care enrollment policy.

The mission of Whitko Early Learning Academy is to inspire children to become life-long learners, problem solvers, creative thinkers, and global citizens through a culturally competent child-centered teaching and learning philosophy.

The vision of our Early Learning Academy is to foster the cognitive, creative, social, emotional, and physical growth and development of children and to provide an exceptional early childhood education to children throughout the community.

Achieving Our Mission
Our mission will be accomplished by utilizing a play-based emergent learning curriculum that is child-centered and teacher-guided. Learning will take place through a variety of teaching strategies or modes such a creative arts, small group learning, individual learning, thematic learning, technological learning, and experiential learning. Whitko Early Learning Academy will provide children with an exciting educational experience that will help to build a positive self concept and allow them to take ownership of their own learning experiences thereby creating a love of learning throughout their lifetime.

  • Empowerment
  • Child-Focused Practice
  • Collaboration
  • Individuality
  • Leadership
  • Deep Personal Relationships
  • Social Emotional Wellness

Teaching Philosophy
Whitko Early Learning Academy uses a play-based, emergent learning curriculum for children in preschool. In this child-centered learning environment inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, children will be given the opportunity to explore their current interests and develop new interests in a dynamic, creative, and imaginative learning environment.

Whitko Early Learning Academy will incorporate two main early childhood educational and developmental theories into teaching practice. These theorists will serve as the basis for the curriculum implemented for the pre-k program. The two main foundations for learning will be based on theories developed by Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky. Both theorists believed play is essential to a child’s overall development, and children will learn best by exploring their environment through play guided by both adults and other children. Children are able to learn when they are able to freely explore and become actively engaged in their environments. Children are able to achieve success academically, socially, and emotionally through play. At Whitko Early Learning Academy, we believe “play is the work of children” (J. Piaget). Piaget also developed a theory of cognitive development which includes the pre-operational stage. Preschool aged children fall into the stage of cognitive development; therefore, Whitko Early Learning Academy focuses on implementing this developmental information when caring for and teaching children. Whitko Early Learning Academy also incorporates Erik Erikson’s theory of Physchosocial Development with emphasis on the preschooler or play age that is described as initiative vs. guilt. In this initiative vs. guilt phase, the preschool aged child asks themselves the existential question, “is it okay for me to do, move, and act?” It is in this stage, that children are starting to take initiative in activities and tasks. Taking the initiative and completing the tasks or activities successfully leads to a child developing a sense of pride and independence. Negative behaviors or feelings can arise during the stage if the child becomes frustrated or upset that he/she is unable to easily complete a task or activity. If caregivers support and guide the child’s efforts in completing tasks and activities independently, while guiding them to make realistic and appropriate choices, the child will gain initiative. This allows for a feeling of independence and pride.

Emergent Teaching Philosophy
In addition to incorporating these previously mentioned developmental and cognitive theorists, Whitko Early Learning Academy uses an emergent teaching philosophy as well. Emergent teaching philosophy is defined as implementing teacher planned activities and projects based on the group of individuals they are teaching. The teachers take into account the specific groups skills, needs, and interests when planning educational content. Emergent teaching philosophy blends well with a child-centered approach because it takes each individual’s learning needs and interests into account while allowing the child to take ownership of his/her learning experience. This ultimately promotes a healthy self concept in children and motivates them to continually engage in the learning process.

The curriculum implemented is Mother Goose Time. The skills focused on throughout the curriculum include:

  • Social-emotional development
  • Physical development
  • Literacy and language development
  • Mathematics and reasoning development
  • Social studies development
  • Science development
  • Creative development
  • Second language acquisition development