Research confirms that students do better in school when they are emotionally and physically healthy. They miss fewer classes, are less likely to engage in risky or antisocial behavior, concentrate more, and achieve higher test scores. Unfortunately, too many students go to class in less than optimal health.
Schools and communities committed to educating the whole child create an environment that promotes the learning and practice of healthy lifestyles. This includes healthy menus at school, regular recess, physical and health education, school counseling, and intramural programs. Schools and communities collaborate to increase access to health care for children and their families.
Ensuring that each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged requires us to continually ask questions and examine evidence related to implementation. ASCD's indicators of a whole child approach provide a guide for continual school and community improvement and serve as a definition of what a whole child approach to education truly requires. Download the set of healthy indicators (PDF).
From the Whole Child Blog
The following is a response to the excellent articles in a recent issue of ASCD's Educational Leadership magazine. I am a Montessori school principal living and working in Sydney, Australia, over the past 17 years. I am a long-term ASCD member and have worked as a teacher in schools with primarily non-English speaking migrant families, as a counsellor and principal in an international school where kidnapping and terrorism directly affected a number of families, and headed a highly academic school where the majority of students continued studies outside of school every day of the week. My current position has brought me to a place of understanding of education I had never been able to reach before, despite the diverse environments in which I served earlier. While no school is free of difficulties, I write this response after finding the "secret ingredient" in building resilience in children.
Whole Child Examples
Middle Grades Example
The mission of Reading Middle School, an active and caring community, is to guarantee the development of all students as successful, lifelong learners who become contributing citizens after graduation.