FAQ and Whole Children Policies

The first step for new families is to call the office at 413-585-8010 and tell us that you are new. We will set up a time for you and your child to come in, meet our staff, and get a tour of Whole Children. The tour is helpful to children who need time to get acclimated to a new place. The meeting helps our staff get to know your child a bit so we can be sure to support her to get the most out of the class. Our staff may also suggest additional classes that would be a good fit for your child.

We would be happy to speak with you regarding programs, staff, and appropriate class placement. Call the main number at 413-585-8010 and ask to speak to the Program Manager.

Registration is possible online, through the mail, or in person.  We would be happy to speak with you regarding programs, staff, and appropriate class placement. Please contact our office at (413) 585-8010 with any questions.

Some classes fill quickly, so it is important to sign up early and pay at least a deposit to hold the spot (see Payment Policy). If the class is full, call our office at 413-585-8010 to be put on a waiting list and we will call you if a spot opens.

All classes are taught by skilled instructors and most classes have a student:teacher ratio of 3:1 or less.

The first time you register for a class, we will send you (or you can download below) a Waiver, a Physician’s Release, and a Goals Sheet.  This paperwork is required for all students.

Download forms here:

If the class is movement based (gymnastics, yoga, kung-fu, etc.), children should wear comfortable clothing.

Unless otherwise specified, we will provide any necessary materials for participation.

Of course!  Call our office to schedule a time.

Start by talking to the teacher and let him/her know what issues you or your child are having with the class. The teacher will work with you to make accommodations or modifications as feasible to the class to help make your child become successful. If that doesn’t resolve the situation, contact the Whole Children Program Manager and s/he will work with you and the teacher to resolve the situation.

The building at 41 Russell Street is home to three programs: Whole Children, Milestones Community (a day program similar to Whole Children, but for older teens and adults), and Family Empowerment (the family support center, which, among other things, hosts parent support groups and regular workshops for parents on issues related to having a child with a disability). We call our building the Inclusive Community Center to reflect the various programs that run here, and to emphasize that we welcome all families.

Absolutely! Our classes are open to children of all abilities and some include typically developing children. We also believe in creating an environment where all children are respected and taught in a way that works for them. We’ve created a safe haven for kids to practice their new skills until they are confident in their success. Kids often take the skills they learn at Whole Children and put them to use in classes in their community. It is our goal that the classes will give our kids the skills to be included in a meaningful way.

Classes at Whole Children may be canceled due to inclement weather. In the event of poor conditions, check the status of your class by calling our office at 413-585-8010. The recorded message will be updated to relay information about cancellations.

All canceled classes will be re-scheduled during our make-up week or other available dates.

Whole Children wants to help each child be successful in the classes they attend. That is why it is our policy for parents of new students and those under 13 years old (or caregiver provided by parents) to remain on the premises for the duration of the class to be available to our staff and their child in case of need. Our goal is to help our students develop the skills to function safely and independently in our classes.

Once teachers/staff see that a child has demonstrated the ability to participate safely at their level, parents may leave the building. However, parents must be able to return quickly in the event their child requires assistance. Whole Children must have a way to contact a parent or caregiver during the class.

Please come five minutes before the scheduled start of class and stay with your child in the lobby until the teachers greet the children and bring them into the program space.

For children who need additional transition time, staff will work with parents to provide opportunities to become familiar with the space prior to class beginning.

If teachers/staff have given you permission to drop off your child, please be back for pick up at lease five minutes before the scheduled end of class and wait in the lobby until the class is dismissed. Please be on time because staff cannot leave until all children are picked up. If you are more than 15 minutes late for pick up twice in one session, a $15 late fee will be applied to your account.

New families are encouraged to tour our facilities with the Program Manager before their session.

Payment may be made by cash, check, credit card or through Jack Rabbit, Whole Children's class registration software, which can be found on Whole Children's website prior to the start of class.

Many of the classes have a maximum number of participants. To guarantee a spot in the class, a deposit or full payment is required. Otherwise, if the class fills up, priority will go to students who have paid; students who have registered but not paid may lose their spot.

If needed, a payment plan may be set up with the office. Payment plans can be flexible, including being set up to pay weekly. Whatever plan is approved, this plan will include the full class price regardless of whether the student attends all classes.

Full refunds will be given for classes that are cancelled.

If a registered paid participant is unable to attend the class and notifies us one week prior to the start of the session, a refund will be made minus a $10 processing / administrative fee.

No refunds will be given once the program has started except under extreme circumstances or for new students trying a class for the first time.

Siblings get a 25 percent discount if they are signed up for the same class. Hour-long classes for children who are deemed eligible through the Hampshire/Franklin Department of Developmental Services are $100, excluding February vacation week.

Take two or more regularly priced classes and get a 15 percent discount (excludes DDS-reduced price and grant-funded classes).

There are limited scholarships available to income-eligible families. Please see front office staff to fill out the forms for scholarship money.

Many families are able to get classes paid for by their school district, the Department of Developmental Services, or other agencies. For more information, talk to Donna Kushi in Family Empowerment at 413-585-8010.

It is Whole Children's aim to make our space safe for all children/adults. Therefore it is our policy to make all common space at 41 Russell Street free of peanuts and tree nuts. We also understand that some students may not have flexibility in what they eat for lunch or snack. Therefore we have one conference room designated as a "nuts allowed" space for students who eat nut products.

Nut Free spaces at Whole Children include: kitchen, cafe, gym, game room, preschool space, training room, bathrooms (labeled "Nut-Free").

Places at Whole Children that are not considered nut-free: staff offices, one conference room (labeled "Not Nut-Free").

Staff are allowed to eat nuts in their offices and in the conference room that is labeled "Not Nut-Free). During vacation programs (when we eat lunch here), we will send notices to families if we have a student with a nut allergy, asking for alternatives to nuts be brought for lunch/snack. If students are unable to bring an alternative, they will eat in the conference room (with other students) that allows nuts. Those students will be required to wash hands after lunch.

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