© Anglo American School Of Sofia. all rights reserved.

On Educating the Whole Child

“By education I mean an all-round drawing out of the best in the child and man; body, mind and spirit.” -Mahatma Gandhi

On Friday, February 16, I had the pleasure of going to Patches Blues Bar to see/hear the AAS staff band, the Edumacators. I don’t get out much, so it was a treat to listen to some live music amongst colleagues and friends. I was pleased that there were some AAS parents at the show as well. When the Edumacators took the stage, I was pleasantly surprised to see an AAS parent join the band–doubling the horns section.

There are currently 9 members of the Edumacators, including 3 different members on lead vocals. In addition to enjoying their performances–they are good, very good–I was struck by the fact that these people whom I see regularly in the school setting have these musical talents. Of course, there is more to everyone than what we see day to day in our work context, but it is easy to forget that until we have the opportunity to see them showcase their talents.

There are almost 1600 students, staff, and parents in the AAS community. It is a treat to realise that each of them (you) has talents that most of the community is not aware of. In addition to our staff/parent band, we have a student band, Burnout (they rock!), and many other musicians. We have other community members who are rock climbers, rhythmic gymnasts, dancers, writers, carters (race cars), cooks, painters, actors, swimmers, skiers, skaters, football players… It is a long and impressive list, which represents the fraction of the community’s talents of which I am aware. We have a talented community.

While the magnitude of skills in our ever so talented community is fun to ponder and celebrate, the best part of seeing the Edumacators play (and being aware of others’ talents) is that it helps me know each person better. In education, we know that the best way to educate is through a whole child approach.

The whole child approach focuses on helping each child develop as a healthy and happy individual person, not just an academic student. There are many obvious benefits to this approach, including that young people who are healthy and happy do better academically. This is true for adults too: adults who are healthy and happy contribute more to the community, including doing their job better.

Recognizing and celebrating that our children and adults are people who make music, dance, compete athletically, cook, or what have you, is one part of the whole child (whole person) approach.

The whole child approach is the reason the AAS staff members focus so much on having positive relationships with students and each other. It is why AAS provides so many opportunities to engage in non-academic activities; it is why we do things to bring fun into the school day. One of my favourite things that we do just for fun is having music playing on Friday mornings as kids come to school. It creates a positive and fun environment to start the day. And, it is a delight to watch the little ones dancing away on a Friday morning. They have so much energy: I wish I could siphon off some of it!

As we head into the weekend, I hope you make time to enjoy your talents.

“No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.”
-James Comer

Category Blog, Director’s Blog Tags: