The Long Journey of “Whole Child Education”

The Long Journey of “Whole Child Education”

July 21, 2019

“What does a ‘whole child education’ mean to educators?” ask David Griffith and Sean Slade of ASCD in EdSurge. “To some it references providing nutritious food or breakfast in the classroom. To others it focuses on mental health and developmental social and emotional learning skills.” Whole child education has also used the term as “understanding brain-based learning and adjusting teaching to suit what we now know about memory, knowledge and meaning,” and can “equate to providing enough counselors in schools; developing systems for student voice and agency; encouraging that schools address the cultural context of their students; or ensuring equity and equitable access to opportunities.” At ASCD, they say, it’s all those things and more. They also note that the context around the conversations on this topic has changed: “We’ve gone from No Child Left Behind’s top down, rigidly prescriptive and punitive test-based model to the Every Student Succeeds Act’s state and locally-determined set of multiple measures of student achievement.”