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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 tomprnny@gmail.com.

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