It’s time to let the wholeness of the child engage with the wholeness of the world.




To the extent that we narrow the purpose of schooling to what can be measured, we fail to
engage those sides of children that must be developed in order for them to pull learning
from life. We also increase the likelihood that
they will be bored, question the value of school,
and in some cases even drop out.

Instead of starting with the questions “How do we prepare kids to compete in the 21st century
global marketplace?” or “What will insure that graduates all have command of basic skills?”,
suppose we start by asking what qualities we want to encourage in children as they grow toward




The James and Grace Lee Boggs School

Detroit, MI

Boggs is more than a school. It is the nucleus of a community and a process of change. Using Place-Based Education, the school immerses students creatively in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities, experiences, and service projects for the school and local community.

Zaharis School

Mesa, AZ

At Zaharis books are plentiful and reading is as natural as breathing, but scripted textbooks are set aside in favor of inquiry-based learning. That means students pose questions and carry out projects. This builds teamwork and motivation for learning.

Compass School

Westminster, VT

Compass School’s unusual model accommodates both independent and public school students for its sparsely populated rural communities in Vermont. The school is open admissions and this arrangement works well for them. Upon graduation, students enjoy a high level of college acceptance.



Educate the Whole Child expects to offer a graduate level 12-credit certificate–Teaching the Whole Child. It will consist of four online courses that may be taken as a series or independently. See details here.

Whole Child Education

The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) convened a Commission on the Whole Child in 2006. It subsequently issued an important report and has resources at its whole child website.

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Vivian Gussin Paley

Discussions of play-based learning can be found in the works of Vivian Gussin Paley, notably in  books such as The Boy Who Would be a Helicopter and a Child’s Work: The Importance of Fantasy Play.

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Letters to a Young Teacher

Jonathan Kozol’s Letters to a Young Teacher contains a distillation of a lifetime’s work in education. It builds on the premise that the best teachers refuse to see their pupils as so many “pint-sized deficits or assets for America’s economy.”

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