It’s a blessing to work at a school that emphasizes the “whole-child approach” to education. At whole-child-oriented schools, students enjoy learning, and there are higher academic scores, lower dropout rates, and more long-term success among graduates.
The “whole child” principles comprise three simple concepts:
Whether or not your own school emphasizes whole-child education, you can employ the same principles in your classroom.
Academics Aren’t Everything
High test scores and recess/art lessons/soft skills aren’t a matter of “either/or,” but of “both/and.” It’s false logic (however popular among educators) that says poor academic performance is best remedied by making students work longer and harder on academics while ignoring everything else: all work and no play still makes students (and teachers) dull-witted, chronically bored, and uncooperative. Hopefully your school makes room for free time and outdoor recess; but even if it doesn’t, you can provide stand-up-and-stretch breaks, art- and game-oriented lessons, and “free periods” for individual reading/drawing/daydreaming.
Help Your Students Become Team Players
It’s fine to let individuals progress through curricula at their own best speeds; but don’t divide the class into groups labeled “slow learners” and “fast learners.” And definitely never say to a struggling student, “Why can’t you do as well as everyone else/so-and-so in the next row?” You don’t want an “us/them” atmosphere that generates contempt and resentment, so give everyone opportunity to contribute to their fullest.
Teach the Value of “Failing Forward”
Pushing for 100 percent scores generates a fear of failure that keeps children trapped at existing competency levels, when they could be shooting for the stars and charting trial-and-error paths toward ever greater goals. Emphasize the value of dreaming and perseverance: study the lives of famous achievers and how they succeeded through repeated “try, try again.”
Let Them Teach You
You are also a multifaceted whole person with much to learn, so don’t get caught in the “teacher knows everything” trap. Don’t forbid students to disagree with you or offer different ideas: encourage it, while requiring them to explain their reasoning and put their ideas to the test. Everyone will learn a great deal more this way—including you, as you accumulate new ideas for making your classes ever more whole-child-oriented and effective!
WE TEACH THE WHOLE CHILD
We at Shady Oak Primary are committed to the whole-child approach, firmly believing that guiding youngsters to be well-rounded members of society is more important than achieving any grade-oriented goal. If you’re looking for a private school where children thrive and are valued as individuals, contact us to learn more about our program.
Blessings to parents and children of all ages!