← Back to blog

What Is The Whole Child Approach To Education?

Vincent Paget

January 7, 2019

Preparing a child for life beyond education is about far more than good examination results. They need to be armed with skills that enable them to deal with the demands of growing up, entering the workplace and achieve long-term success. The whole child approach is about holistic education, where learning looks beyond the classroom to support personal development and is focused on the individual.

What Is The Whole Child Approach?

The whole child approach to learning focuses on the bigger picture.

When a school takes the whole child approach to learning they focus on the bigger picture - they recognise their responsibility to support the health and happiness of their students and not just their academic results. The whole child approach works on the basis that every child should be happy, healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged to grow in their educational environment. Schools must promote a culture that ensures pupils are given time to develop their interests and learn the wider skills required of them in a safe and supportive environment, while still being academically engaged and challenged.Additional reading:5 step strategy to care for the whole child

Providing a safe and supportive environment in which a child can learn is a key part of the whole child approach.
The whole child approach is about providing a safe and supportive environment in which to learn.

How Can Schools Implement The Whole Child Approach?

1) Assessment Beyond Academics

An awareness of pupil progress and achievement should incorporate more than examination grades. Tracking pupil performance in other ways allows teaching staff to gain a wider view of overall pupil development and happiness. The Boardingware app records pupil attendance at extracurricular activities as well as in lessons. By keeping track of trends for individual pupils, staff can identify sudden changes that may link to pastoral issues not otherwise obvious.

2) Creating A Safe And Trusting Community

Whole school policies that are understood and adhered to by everyone ensure that pupils understand the boundaries of acceptable behaviour and the consequences of conflict. This helps to establish the kinds of moral behaviour a school expects from all of its pupils and teach them what is acceptable outside of the school environment. Within the school, policies should be an ethos of open communication, where children understand that it is a safe environment in which to discuss their concerns or problems, and that staff know how to be supportive and encourage resolution and learning.

3) Well-rounded Curriculum

A well-rounded curriculum provides time for a range of subjects.

For a pupil to develop their interests and challenge their perceptions, their education must provide a safe environment in which to participate in new activities and be exposed to different topics. A well-rounded curriculum provides time for a range of subjects including arts, sciences, physical education and languages. Pupils are allowed to dedicate time to extra-curricular activities such as being part of sports teams or developing a new skill. Within and around lessons, opportunities to attend talks, educational visits and hear from staff outside of their usual teachers.

A supportive environment and the option to tailor their learning helps students develop.
Students learn best when they are in a supportive environment, with the option to tailor their learning.


4) Creativity In The Classroom

Every element of school life should encourage students to feel safe and supported. In the classroom, this can include differentiation tactics to ensure pupils can learn at their own pace and access the curriculum in a way that is natural to them. Teachers act as guides, asking questions and encouraging academic excellence through independent learning rather than reciting information that must be learnt.

5) Promote Independence And Student-led Decision Making

At all stages of education, pupils can be given the freedom to make their own decisions and choices, and learn effectively from their mistakes. Younger children can be given the opportunity to choose their activities or theme their learning around topics that really interest them.Older students can be allowed to make their own decisions about where they spend their time outside of lessons, with the freedom to sign-out of the school campus independently. Boardingware allows pupils to manage their schedule via the student app, where they can request leave or sign out, as well as via kiosks around campus.To understand more about how Boardingware can help your school develop the whole child approach to learning, view our free demo or contact our team today.

Our gift to you: a free behavior management tool, plus an incredibly useful newsletter

Join thousands of school leaders learning to improve student life. Subscribers receive free access to our behavior management tool, Orah Notes. When you subscribe, you will receive an email with instructions on how to get it set up, as well as an introductory version of the Orah-cle, our monthly newsletter.

Vincent Paget

I'm a kiwi living in London and who has been part of Orah since 2015. Working in operations, my passion lies in finding efficiencies and scalabilities in all areas of the business. Beyond the office, I'm all about outdoor adventures like football and fishing, along with music, travel, and quality time with friends and family, especially my dog.

Featured articles

Orah Direct Communications

Introducing Orah's New Direct Communications Chat Tool for Schools

Our communications team have been busy developing the much-requested ability to bring direct messaging into Orah so you can have one place where messaging, organising communications and ensuring your school has oversight, all in one place.

Product Update

Latest Updates to Workflows (May 2024)

Orah schools have been looking for ways to improve their utility in response to student actions, so we’ve made a number of enhancements to help with this.

Product Update

5 Steps You Can Take Today to Reduce Absenteeism at Your School

Discover five practical steps to reduce absenteeism in your school. Join a supportive community, enhance parent-school communication with Orah Connect, and engage in meaningful education with students and parents.