Why We Educate the Whole Child

September 6, 2020 by Tom

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat itSantayana

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.

I am grateful for this regular blog here on the new Educate The Whole Child website. It felt odd to be referring to past progressive educational successes that have seemingly been wiped away by NCLB and the thrum of light, noise and numbness gripping our society. It was odd until I discovered that enlightened progressive school communities are thriving around the country and awaiting discovery. I was given a generous grant to find and document these schools.

The USA has always been vacuous, a house of cards teetering on the brink of a collapse fueled by greed of the oligarchs. Any nation built upon genocide, slavery and perpetual wars will inevitably writhe in the karmic effects we experience.

Politicians used to hide it better. Politicians of yore perhaps pretended more convincingly, and just enough money was pumped to the white middle class to neuter dissent and possess their minds with baubles that catch the eye and impress those they wished to impress.

The view forward, through the lens of schools mostly mired in drudgery, complacency, flash points of violence, societal decay and leadership prized for soporific grunts and gray hued pronouncements of compliance inevitably create moments of despair, anger and I dare say panic among children and their teachers.

Spoiler alert: There are people in our midst, perhaps you are one, who don’t simply dream of a better tomorrow. Perhaps you too use love for children, respect for elders, the responsibility to live a life being respectful of our fragile earth and deeply felt beliefs of peace, love, compassion and responsibility to mindfully go about the tasks of being good, caring, responsible parents, teachers, care givers, stewards of the earth and all with equanimity, peace and love in your actions toward all living beings, especially the children who will inherit the earth.

Imagine if each of us took it upon our own heart, mind and consciousness to provide positive, loving and mindful examples of positivity to the world. Imagine if the venue we chose to positively affect were schools. Imagine no longer. Through a grant by the Myrin Foundation, our project, Educate The Whole Child (www.educatethewholechild.org) has been mindfully identifying publicly funded schools that refuse to acquiesce to mindlessness by following orders that are knowingly harmful to the social, emotional and physical wellbeing of children.

There exists powerful, irrefutable evidence that publicly funded schools can not only exist, but more importantly flourish as beautiful oases of peace, love, compassion driven pedagogy predicated on the fact that every child has gifts. Every child can access their pure, native intelligence and capacities to create, be joyously engaged in the world, engage deeply with community, the environment, academics, art, movement and deep connections to their family, community and their own heart and intellect.

Mission Hill School, Boston, MA; City Neighbors School, Baltimore, MD; Graciela Garcia School, Pharr, TX; Zaharis Elementary School, Mesa, AZ; The Project School, Bloomington, IN and Four Rivers Charter School, Greenfield, MA. Summary reports are available upon request. tomprnny@gmail.com