A whole child education engages all aspects of what it is to be an integrated and accomplished human; it tends to the academic, emotional, social and aesthetic life of the child. In fact, there is a chronology – for children to grow intellectually, they must first feel emotionally safe in their learning environment. Only when they feel respected, known and valued, can they venture into the kind of intellectual risk-taking which results in the deepest learning.
Teachers work hard for each student to be “known” – not only academic strengths and challenges but approaches to learning, as well. Delights and frustrations. Areas of interest and areas that don't pull the student in. The obstacles that stand between the student and that “aha moment” of intellectual or creative breakthrough.
Learning begins with students’ own essential questions and then, with robust student input, the teacher constructs authentic learning experiences that allow students to make choices, think, research, design, create, solve, and share outcomes with others.
A curriculum of caring starts in the preschool and continues right through graduation day. At those earliest ages, our students might learn to take turns and respect others' space. By 8th grade they have learned to listen open-mindedly to divergent points-of-view and embrace differences. In-between, there are hundreds of moments in which teachers guide their students to emotional intelligence, while teaching appropriate self-advocacy, conflict resolution and restorative justice.