Whole Child Education

Decades of research have demonstrated the need for an education system that recognizes the connections between children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and academic development, as well as their physical and mental health.

A “whole child” education prioritizes the full scope of a child’s developmental needs as a way to advance educational equity and ensure that every child reaches their fullest potential. A whole child approach understands that students' education and life outcomes are dependent upon their access to deeper learning opportunities in and out of school, as well as their school environment and relationships.

Shifting toward a whole child education has far-reaching implications if education systems are to promote children’s learning, well-being, and healthy development. This includes designing learning environments to support the whole child; developing curriculum, instruction, and assessments for deeper learning; preparing educators for whole child practice; and changing policy and systems to support the whole child.

Illustration by Grady Fike, courtesy of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.


Designing Learning Environments to Support the Whole Child

Developing Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessments for Deeper Learning

Preparing Educators for Whole Child Practice

Changing Policy and Systems to Support the Whole Child



Stuart Foundation, Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Pure Edge, Sanford Institute of Philanthropy, Carnegie Corporation of New York, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Photo courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action.