For Whole Child Education
- Complete and submit Statement of Intent, with signatures.
- Review the list of “Principles to Educate the Whole Child.” Add or modify as needed to make them fit your purposes and location. Note that these are not standards but aims or principles.
- Prepare for the visiting evaluator by planning his or her access to examples of your school’s ongoing whole child instruction. The evaluator will want to see evidence at all grade levels of such things as:
- project-based learning
- field trips
- place-based education (specific to your location)
- visiting community members or artists
- arts integration: using the arts to teach ELA, science, and multiple curricular areas
- a healthy social and emotional climate throughout the school
- music and presentations by students
- all-school assemblies
- connections to nature, such as a school garden
- faculty professional development and retreats
- Include the school’s mission statement. Does it express whole child values?
- Educate the Whole Child favors engaging students in each of five
strands/intelligences/areas in as many of the lessons as possible. We realize this is not possible in all situations. Be prepared to discuss with the evaluator how these strands exist in the school already, and how they could be developed in the future. The five strands are:
- academic and cognitive learning
- creative or artistic learning
- disciplined physical movement (more free play for Pre-K and
- practical, hands-on work, as in project-based education
- learning out in the community or in nature.
- Each of these strands holds potential for social and emotional growth. Expect to discuss this with the evaluator. One avenue for this to develop is weekly assemblies at which students present, sing, share their work, and recognize one another’s accomplishments. Mission Hill School has perfected how assemblies can work to advance learning and participation. See A Year at Mission Hill.
- Articulate your plan for whole child professional development for the next two years. This type of experience goes beyond acquiring new classroom skills but should also encourage the kinds of personal growth that lead to greater satisfaction and sense of purpose in one’s teaching. Note that whole child professional development may integrate well with required or ongoing P.D.
Realizing the dream of a whole child education would be impossible without the personal and professional development of the teachers and staff. Examples of the kinds of objectives that can advance this could be stated:
- The staff will be encouraged to visit model schools, such as Mission Hill, that have been particularly successful in achieving holistic goals.
- If feasible, the school will affiliate with a college or university to develop whole child oriented practicums.
- When funding is available, the staff will participate in professional development employing creative pedagogy, such as using arts to teach STEM or STEAM topics.
- Each year faculty will participate in a retreat that helps them to grow personally and professionally.
- Include whole child language in your school’s Mission Statement and note any other ways that your school’s instructional program is presented to the public and to funding sources.
- (optional) The applicant may choose to set forth guidelines or norms for the way people relate to each other in the school. On the other hand, it may be felt unnecessary to spell out expectations, for example, that people listen to one another, communicate constructive criticism and praise, honor different perspectives, and so on.
The site visit usually takes two or three days and is a learning experience for all concerned.
COSTS: Because this initiative is supported by the Myrin Institute, there is no fee involved in becoming a WHOLE CHILD CERTIFIED SCHOOL at this time.
BENEFITS: Each approved school will receive a certificate declaring that it has met all requirements and is recognized as a WHOLE CHILD CERTIFIED SCHOOL. This status allows it to participate in a network of like-minded schools and to benefit from future resources offered by EDUCATE THE WHOLE CHILD. Most important, the certification declares the school’s commitment to helping children develop their highest and best potential as complete human beings.