F-words in Schools

Welcome to CanChild’s F-words in Schools page!

Here you will find information about how the F-words ideas can be integrated into school systems; the F-words are meant for ALL children, and not just those who have disabilities. This page includes F-words tools that can be used in schools, information about our educational outreach visits with Ontario school boards, and examples of how teachers are using the F-words in their classrooms.


F-words Tools for School

Here you will find F-words tools that were developed for use in schools. These include the Advocacy Guide for School, the Tip Sheet for Educators, and the Newsletter for both parents and educators. Our hope is that these tools will help to move the F-words ideas into the school systems to promote a holistic and strengths-based view of all students.

Advocacy Guide for School:

This advocacy guide can be used by parents when their child is starting a new school, or at the beginning of an IEP meeting. Parents can either use the template to enter relevant information about their child, or they can use the ideas in the template to write their own letter. 

An instructional Advocacy Guide is provided below, followed by templates that you can customize for you and your child. In this guide, the bolded words indicate where you should put your own information when completing the templates. 

The first template, "Advocacy Notes to Guide your School Meetings" is for you to use as a reminder of what to say during the meeting. The second page of this document is for your notes and reminders of the examples that you are going to use in the discussion. 

The next template, "Advocacy Letter for School File" is a template for you to fill in, sign and hand in together with F-Words tools for your child's file. 

Template Examples

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F-words Newsletter for Parents

Dear parents, read our Newsletter and find out how to move the F-words into your child's school!

F-words Tip Sheet and Newsletter for Educators

Dear Educators, learn how to move the F-words into your schools by reading our Tip Sheet and Newsletter!

F-words for Child Development Poster:

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The following poster showcases the six F-words for child development. We encourage you to download this poster and share it with friends, family, and colleagues. The CanChild F-words Research Team revised the title of this poster, which was originally, ‘The F-words in Childhood Disability’, to the ‘F-words for Child Development’, to highlight that these F-words can be applied to ALL children, and not just those who have disabilities. If you are an educator, we encourage you to hang this poster in your class to introduce your students to the F-words ideas and provide a more holistic approach to child development in the classroom.

Download the F-words for Child Development Poster here.

Educational Outreach Visits

Beginning in 2018, CanChild has started moving the F-words ideas into Ontario school boards. To date, the F-words team has done educational outreaches with the following School Boards: Dufferin-Peel, Limestone, Algonquin & Lakeshore, and French and English of Eastern Ontario, with the interest of using the ‘F-words’ in schools only continuing to rise! Participants from these school board educational sessions have indicated both interest and positivity towards using the F-words in schools, as well as the perceived usefulness of these outreach visits.


Parent input was wonderful! Really highlights material. CanChild knowledge Hub and Tools were great! Goal sheets should be implemented immediately in schools for our children.” 

This information presented will further our resources to our children and ensuring that we consider the whole student when determining goals, plans, and strategies.” 

Having a parent speak to their personal experiences directly in the context of the F-Words was a great addition. The content would be good to share with teachers and administration as a reminder to work on functional personal goal vs. academic goals that may not be meaningful to a family.”  

I enjoyed the group work - small group discussions. Loved hearing the family stories and how the 6 Fs have been implemented.” 

Current Uptake of the F-words Across Ontario Schools


The above picture is from a grade 4 classroom in the Bluewater District School Board. All students in this classroom completed the F-words Goal Sheet as a class activity. This activity allowed students to develop goals based on each of the six F-words and share with one another, in turn, allowing the teacher and students to learn more about each other’s goals.

So often as teachers were expected to focus solely on academics. Our Professional Development is academic based, the report cards, the IEP expectations… But we all know that we’re are teaching so much more than academics. Using this F words framework could enable us to view the ‘whole child’ and frame our teaching to their strengths and needs holistically. I would use it in Health and weekly classroom meetings, or even in girls club. In those meetings you need a framework to work from. This could be perfect!” - Grade 5 teacher in Meaford, Ontario.

So the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is a structured tool that can’t be changed, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t still frame a conversation and gather information using the 6 Fs framework. Even referencing to put things in brackets and link back to the 6 Fs. I think we just have to open our minds up a little bit if we want to create that continuum of language across sectors, including education.” - SLP for Preschool-aged children in Kingston, Ontario


The above pictures are from a multidisciplinary F-words workshop held in Brockville, Ontario. Service providers, including educators, were planning how to use the F-words in the transition to kindergarten process. One school service provider from this workshop said, “The F-words allow school staff to change their perspective when looking at the child. Instead of seeing only deficits, they see all components of who that child is.” As well, many workshop attendees noted that the F-words are useful for all children at school, and not just those who are identified as having exceptionalities. 

The CanChild F-words team is currently working to increase uptake of the F-words across schools in Ontario. If you work within the school system and are interested in how the F-words can be applied to your practice, please contact CanChild at fwords@mcmaster.ca. If you work within the school system and are currently implementing the F-words in practice, we’d love to hear from you! Please visit the following link to share with us how you are using the F-words in practice (e.g., developing and/or adapting F-words tools) https://is.gd/fwordssubmissionform

International Uptake of F-Words in Schools

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The photos above are taken at the Sarth Foundation, DAWN Autism School, Center For Children With Multiple Disabilities in India.

Puja Dhande gave a one hour talk to the parents of children with developmental differences and introduced them to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health Framework (ICF) and the F-Words for Child Development.

"I gave a perspective on why we need to think beyond the so called 'normal' or 'delayed' and focus more on the routine age appropriate functions of the child to enhance participation. I introduced the different F-Words templates on goal settings, F-Words collage, etc... The talk was received very well. The parents were highly motivated and shared that they can now look at things differently with regard to their children."

Puja Dhande is an Occupational Therapist with more than 10 years of experience in the practice. She brings a holistic approach in handling children with various developmental differences. She believes in the uniqueness of every child and is strictly committed to the mission of World Health Organization's ICF.