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
Teachers know that engaging and inspiring students initially requires building positive relationships and creating relevant learning experiences. Students who are motivated and see meaning in what they learn progress faster and at high levels, even when they start with knowledge or skill gaps. In fact, focusing on motivation and meaning can be an underutilized tool for the classroom.
On the last episode of the Whole Child Podcast, we talked with author Richard Curwin and ASCD Emerging Leaders Ashanti Foster and John Hines about the building blocks of motivation—hope, meaning, and challenge. In this episode, host Sean Slade, director of ASCD's Whole Child Programs, speaks one-on-one with Baruti Kafele—veteran educator and nationally renowned speaker on the topic of motivating low-performing students—about how knowing your students, intentionally creating a positive school climate and culture, and making learning relevant sets the stage for students to be motivated to succeed.
As a middle and high school principal, Kafele led the transformation of four different schools, including Newark Tech High School, which went from a low-performing school in need of improvement to being recognized as one of the best high schools in the United States. He is the author of Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School and in Life and Closing the Attitude Gap: How to Fire Up Your Students to Strive for Success, and has received more than 100 educational, professional, and community awards.
Listen to the episode below or download:
What are you doing to change your students' attitudes so that every day they walk into the classroom, they are fired up and ready to excel?
Whole Child Examples
Lusher Charter School is one of the most sought-after public schools in the city of New Orleans.