From head to toe? Is that it? Somehow the clever people in the federal government who are working on what to include in the renewal of the No Child Left Behind Act (technically, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: ESEA) have no clue what it means in education circles to speak of educating “the while child”.
What is their recommendation, in the spirit of moving away from a focus on test-scores and PURELY academic concerns? Well, to them it means “a wide range of services”, like dental and health care, library services, summer and after-school enrichment, and college counseling. [As presented by lawmakers at a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee in mid-April] You’d think this was an SNL skit. Really? I mean, really? That’s it? That’s what you come up with to reform/improve traditional education by attending to the needs of the whole child?
Sheesh. We’re doomed. UNLESS all of us start to stand up and awaken the rest.
If there truly was an understanding of educating the whole child there would be mention of creativity, and not in the traditional sense of making sculptures with popsicle sticks or hard pasta, but creativity understood as innovative thinking (I’d even settle for “thinking”). The “whole child” should concern healthy emotional development, true social skills and a wonderful array of “life” competencies like self-motivation, self-direction, self-regulation, problem-solving, and a general sense that each individual holds his/her own life in his/her hands: the responsibility of freedom.
It really is time to change the education conversation, if it’s not too late.