Welcome to the Educate The Whole Child Blog:  Join Tom McGuire, an educator with over four decades on the tip of the progressive spear in public education, and several colleagues who will join him along the way.  We hope to inspire others to help re-plow the hallowed ground of schools being for the sole benefit of children.  

In this blog we will hope to engender respectful conversations centered on whole child education, and specifically how we can effectively turn back the damage done by No Child Left Behind and the Testing Culture that has so deeply taken root in far too many public schools. 

There were many very effective progressive school reform initiatives, such as The Coalition of Essential Schools, that went by the wayside when government/corporate interests ensured that professional development money was earmarked for standardized curriculum, test prep and testing regimens.

“ETWC” believes each child deserves to be taught in ways they can succeed. 

  • cognitive-intellectual activity, associated with the left brain
  • creative-intuitive activity (the arts), associated with the right brain
  • structured physical movement and unstructured, self-directed play
  • handwork, making things that can be useful
  • engagement with nature and community
  • social emotional learning permeates everything that happens in the school

A wholehearted commitment to each child will permeate everything that happens at the school to the extent this is possible. This commitment can form the strongest element of a healthy social and emotional school climate. 

Each of the intelligences provides opportunities for advancing social and emotional development. For example: 

  • getting students outside and being mindful in nature can awaken appreciation of all we owe to the natural world;
  • community engagement with projects that can develop empathy and unselfishness, such as recording stories from elders;
  • handwork can teach important motor skills, and can strengthen persistence; imagine a quilt, an orchestra of handmade instruments, a puppet show;
  • disciplined physical movement help children feel comfortable in their bodies, develop team skills, and help promote a mature perspective on winning and losing;
  • creative work, such as storytelling or singing together, warms the heart and completes the person; it counterbalances the immensely valuable but cool analytical quality of pure intellect;
  • and even in the conventional intellectual forms of learning, dealing with ideas, historical events, and facts that illustrate moral principles and show sacrifice for the common good can build character and a sense of higher purpose. 

To send a message to this blog, please write to Tom McGuire at

What Weakens Citizen Support For Schools?

When voter support for public schools is lukewarm, quality schools and professional-level pay for teachers don’t make it to the top of the priority list for funding. Conversely, in communities where there are many young parents with kids in school, there’s more motivation to do as well by those children as possible. I suggest there […]

Read More

Why We Educate the Whole Child

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” Santayana. I am increasingly struck by the dynamics of living in a time when old news is anything not happening this moment. Too many of us stare at the present and are effectively blind to the truths of the past and more dangerously, hope for the future.

Read More

The Outer and Inner Aims

Is it accurate to say that Educate the Whole Child has both an outer and obvious aim, and an inner or unspoken one? The outer aim is just what the name says. The inner one seems to strive to educate children so that they have the potential to develop spiritually, through a thoughtful process that […]

Read More