Why is educating the “whole child” so important?
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Why is educating the “whole child” so important?

“Education requires the balanced development of the whole person.” So says Woodstock Principal Dr Jonathan Long in his educational philosophy, entitled Eliciting Greatness.

To achieve this balance, Dr Long says an approach to education that “encourages an integrated development of potential across a range of dimensions, including the spiritual, academic, moral, aesthetic, emotional, social and physical” is necessary.

So why is this focus on developing and educating the “whole person” or “whole child” so important?

  • The answer is that students who engage in a range of environments and experiences are far far better equipped to face the challenges of “real life” when they graduate.
  • This means education is not just learning facts in the classroom, but a holistic experience including critical thinking, drama, sport, outdoor education, music, and other areas where students can pursue their passions.
  • This more rounded educational experience was pioneered by Kurt Hahn, founder of Round Square, an organisation Woodstock has recently become affiliated to.

In order to develop the “whole child” Woodstock students are encouraged to get involved in these activities which have been traditionally known as extra curricular, but which at Woodstock we like to call curriculum with a capital “C” or enrichment.

This is because they are a vital part of the core curriculum and help enrich a student’s life, and are not just an added-on extra.

This semester for the first time we have appointed a Dean of Enrichment, Bethany Okie, to give shape and form to the enrichment programme (known as the PASSAGE programme) so students can have even better opportunities to pursue this holistic educational experience.

And this idea of developing the whole person is not just limited to students. Part of the Woodstock’s 2020 Vision Statement is that we invest in professional development for our staff, and that we are a community of “lifelong learners”.  We are keen to develop a community where all staff, whether teachers or administrative, continue to grow and learn, be that through an online course or sitting in on a class during the school day.

Staff also get involved in a wide range of experiences that are available in our locality to help with this holistic development. They can go on hikes in our beautiful Himalayan environment, get involved in drama (we have just had an awesome staff musical), join the staff band or one of the student orchestras, or help lead an enrichment activity which they are passionate about.

Read Dr Long’s educational philosophy which incorporates the idea on developing the “whole child“.