If you have a choice of schools for your children, find an option that emphasizes the “whole-child approach” to learning. A whole-child-oriented school:
- Believes that every child deserves to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged
- Emphasizes soft skills alongside academic skills
- Encourages finding individual strengths, taking initiative, and contributing ideas
- Sees everyone as part of the same team
- Includes physical fitness and art in the regular curricula
- Turns out graduates who seek additional education, find good jobs, and go far in life
- In short, works with each child as a whole person—a mental, physical, emotional, and social being—who has a unique combination of natural skills and traits, and was born to make the most of them
Whether or not your children attend a school focused on whole-child education, you can emphasize the same principles at home.
No Comparisons Allowed
Saying “Why can’t you be like your brother/the class whiz/the kid who won the national scholarship?” is a big no-no. It doesn’t encourage kids to try harder; it just convinces them that they’re deficient and the whole world is against them. Everyone is unique (“unlike” others) anyway, so practice valuing and praising each child for their own gifts.
Another problem with comparison is that it makes life all about competition. Do you really want to raise children who are more interested in beating the other guy than doing their own best, and who see everyone else as rivals? Stress (and demonstrate) the value of empathy, generosity, and teamwork.
Let Them “Fail Forward”
Being a perfectionist (like the parent whose immediate response to a 99 percent score is, “Why couldn’t you have made 100?”) is counterproductive in more ways than the immediate stress it generates. While it may produce some extra effort, it ultimately traps children on low achievement levels—where they’re already sure they can get things right the first time—rather than freeing them to aim for the stars. You didn’t make a big deal of every fall when your kids were learning to walk, so keep on encouraging them to work for greater goals through dreaming, trial-and-error, and perseverance.
Keep the Right Attitude Toward Health and Safety
Health and safety—especially safety—can be a dilemma for parents, who inevitably have to walk a line between overprotection and negligence. And as if the line isn’t hard enough to find already, it seems to move every time someone grows another inch.
Remember that keeping your children safe involves more than being there to protect them: you do them no real favors by “taking care of” absolutely everything until the day comes when they have to sink or swim on their own. Everyone needs to experience the water before they can swim in the depths! By all means, guard children against legitimate danger; but also encourage them in the self-confidence and skills needed to protect themselves. And let them learn a few things the hard way (while they’re small enough to do it in safe surroundings) to build resilience and resourcefulness. Being strong and capable is a major part of being a whole person!
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 that achieving any grade-oriented goal. If you’re looking for a private school where your children can thrive and be valued as individuals, contact us to learn more about our program.
Blessings to parents and children of all ages!