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.

Davis Bilingual Elementary Magnet School

Tucson, AZ

La Escuela de Atracción Bilingüe Davis: Inspirando y fortaleciendo a nuestros alumnos ha convertirse en ciudadanos responsables y productivos de sus comunidades y del mundo.

The Project School

Bloomington, IN

The Project School started with the founding educators’ collective dream to create an authentic, democratically-led school grounded in core beliefs and values of heart-mind-voice, which are infused into everything happening in the school.



Educate the Whole Child now offers a graduate level 12-credit certificate – Teaching the Whole Child.  In partnership with Vermont’s Castleton University, a suite of four online courses  may be taken as a series or independently. See details here.

Teaching Children to Care

Many practical suggestions for social and emotional development can be found in Teaching Children to Care, revised edition. Author Ruth Sidney Charney was co-founder of the Center for Responsive Schools.

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Catching Up or Leading the Way

For a broad look at why whole child education is important and how it fits into global developments and America’s ability to compete, see Yong Zhao, Catching Up or Leading the Way, particularly Chapter 7, “What Knowledge Is of Most Worth?”

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David Sobel

David Sobel’s work with place-based education develops another path for engaging the whole child. His more recent Children and Nature, Place- and Community-Based Education in Schools with Gregory Smith explores the subject in greater depth.

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