In addition to improving students' academic performance, research shows that supportive schools also help prevent a host of negative consequences, including isolation, violent behavior, dropping out of school, and suicide. Central to a supportive school are teachers, administrators, and other caring adults who take a personal interest in each student and in the success of each student.
School and communities committed to educating the whole child connect students with caring adults throughout a student's school career through a variety of positive relationships. These relationships reinforce academic achievement and social, civic, ethical, and emotional development.
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 supported indicators (PDF).
From the Whole Child Blog
How many times have you heard (or asked), "What does a whole child education look like in a school setting?" Over the years since ASCD launched the Whole Child Initiative, teachers, principals, and administrators have implemented the Whole Child Tenets (healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged) in creative ways in classrooms and schools. Last year, four ASCD Emerging Leaders participated in a grant program to explore the approach through a new lens.
On this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, ASCD's Kevin Scott talks with these leaders about their experiences creating and implementing projects for reading culturally relevant texts in an elementary setting, science in a middle school setting, and leadership for minority students in a high school setting. There's something to learn at every level.
Listen to the episode below or download.
Jessica Bohn is a former science curriculum specialist and high school science teacher and is currently the principal at Gibsonville Elementary in Guilford County, N.C. Bohn has written for Educational Leadership magazine, ASCD Express, Education Update, and the U.S. Department of Education's The Teacher Edition. In addition to being a wife and mother, she is passionate about professional development, teacher development, science education, and weather. Connect with Bohn on Twitter @JessicaBohn.
Fred Ende is a former middle school science teacher and department chair and is currently the assistant director of curriculum and instructional services for Putnam/Northern Westchester Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) in New York. Ende has been a facilitator for the American Museum of Natural History's online professional development program, both written and reviewed manuscripts for the National Science Teachers Association and ASCD, and writes for ASCD's Inservice blog, SmartBlog on Education, and Edutopia, and he serves on the New York State ASCD board of directors and is an ASCD Policy Advisory Committee member. Connect with Ende on Twitter @FredEnde.
Amy Fowler Murphy currently works as chemistry education specialist with the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative at the University of Montevallo. Prior to her role with this program, Murphy taught high school chemistry in urban and suburban settings for ten years. She is a National Board–Certified teacher and serves on the Alabama ASCD board of directors. Connect with Murphy on Twitter @amykfmurphy.
- Krista Leh Rundell spent the first ten years of her career in education as a high school social studies teacher. For the next five years, she served as a curriculum and instructional technology coach supporting K–12 teachers across the district in rigorous curriculum design. Currently she is an ASCD Faculty member focusing on social-emotional learning, curriculum design and instruction, and teacher leadership. Connect with Rundell on Twitter @klrundell.
How have you implemented whole child projects in your classroom, school, or district? What lessons have you learned that you can share?
Are you or someone you know interested in becoming an ASCD Emerging Leader? Applications for the class of 2015 open on February 2. Learn more at www.ascd.org/emergingleaders, or e-mail email@example.com to be notified when the applications open. ASCD Emerging Leaders are accomplished educators with 5–15 years of experience who are highly involved in ASCD and the education community as a whole. ASCD now enrolls more educators in each class than ever before, and offers the grant opportunity to members in their second year of the program. All emerging leaders are provided with opportunities to pursue various leadership pathways, including serving on committees, hosting networking events for educators, advocating for sound education policy, and contributing to ASCD publications.
Whole Child Examples
Anansi Charter School’s mission is to provide a nurturing and supportive environment where children of all races, creeds, religions, and special needs develop a love of learning and acquire a strong foundation on which to build a lifetime of knowledge.