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Mar 11, 2021

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Taking a “Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child” Approach to Education During a Pandemic

Article Abstracts
Aug 16, 2022

Research has shown that health and well-being impact teaching and learning, issues now at the forefront for education during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model was developed as a framework for improving students’ learning and health, especially useful during public health emergencies.

Launched in 2014 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), the WSCC model was developed in collaboration with key leaders from the fields of health, public health, education, and school health.

Combining elements of the traditional coordinated school health approach and the whole child framework, the model offers recommendations for providing children a school environment that is conducive to learning and a better-aligned system of health and education.

In the short term, the model focuses on a clean and safe learning environment. A healthy school environment includes a school’s physical condition, including ventilation and temperature, and the ability to protect students from physical threats such as crime, pollution, and toxins.

The medium-term goal focuses on social and emotional climate, ensuring the well-being of both students and staff by helping them feel safe, supported, and connected, even when circumstances require quarantining, physical distancing, or remote learning. The WSCC model encourages transparency and communication between parents, students, and staff, ensuring learners and teachers are heard and feel a sense of belonging and community. Educators and school leaders must nurture as well as teach, and continuously reinforce relationships and connections.

In the long term, the WSCC model encourages schools to plan and implement more integrated policies as part of a continuous school improvement process, beginning with a common understanding about the interrelatedness of learning and health. Suggestions include establishing school health advisory councils, developing or improving school health wellness policies, and developing unified goals that span school sectors.

The ASCD offers a free series of guides, tools, and resources for schools and districts to ease implementation of these recommendations. These are available at the Whole Child Network.

REFERENCES

Slade, S. (2020, March 13). A whole school, whole community, whole child approach to responding to health crises. ASCD InService. https://inservice.ascd.org/a-whole-school-whole-community-whole-child-approach-to-responding-to-hea…

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