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What is holistic education?

Many factors play a role in the healthy development of children. School is not just a place for gaining "book smarts." At Sunrise School, we care about the balanced development of each child as a whole, including their mind, body, and soul. Through whole-child education, we develop the mind by stimulating students to perform higher order thinking while utilizing and expanding their bank of knowledge, we develop the heart by loving our students and building their character through social-emotional lessons that embrace diversity, and we develop the body by exercising and practicing healthy habits. Holistic education takes whole-child education a step further by looking at how this well-rounded individual plays a role in their immediate and broader community. We want students to recognize how they are influenced by and how they impact their family, school, neighborhood, city, country, and the world. 

How will we implement holistic education in our classroom?

 Physical health → Every Tuesday and Thursday, students will engage in 1 hour of PE class. During our morning meeting, we play games and do activities that will often require physical movement and exercise. Within the school day, students are also actively moving around our classroom to work on their projects. Throughout our curriculum, we have embedded multiple opportunities to go to the park, go on a hike, and explore our surrounding neighborhoods. We promote other healthy habits, like hand washing, eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, resting one's eyes, deep breathing, etc.

Academics → We consistently use formal and informal assessments to know what areas students need to keep growing in and what they have achieved. We implement small group and one-on-one instruction to work on specific skills based on student needs. Through open communication and discussion with students as well as opportunities for self-reflection, students are aware of their progress and areas of need. It is crucial that students are given differentiated choices as it gives them the power to evaluate what they are capable of, decide what they want to do, and be courageous enough to try it.

Growth mindset → The power of yet! We aspire to foster lifelong learners. In order to create a habit of continuously learning, students must first believe they have the potential and ability to learn. Even if we don't know or can't do it, that doesn't mean we never will. We just don't know or can't do it YET. We will get there! Through stumbling, making mistakes, and figuring it out, students can learn a lot about something and discover just how capable they really are.

Embracing diversity → Our differences make us unique and we can learn a lot from people with a different lifestyle, background, or culture. Embracing diversity will help cultivate empathy. Students can then further perceive the world with an open mind and construct a positive sense of self. That mindset will allow them to be successful in our multiethnic world. 


Awareness → In relation to diversity, students have varying needs and circumstances. Students have different needs because they come from diverse backgrounds and react differently to various stimuli and strategies. As their teachers, we strive to be aware of and responsive to our students. Whether it is intervention, enrichment, a listening ear, a gentle push, a warm demand, or extra time, every child needs something different. In order to ensure that they feel safe, valued, and heard in the classroom, it is imperative to acknowledge and discuss differences while labeling those differences as valuable assets in our classroom community.

Ripple effect → We encourage students to take the skills they have learned and apply them to their community. They may realize that other people in their community are doing the same thing, which allows them to benefit and learn from those in their community. When used thoughtfully and appropriately, each person's skillset has the potential to be a valuable tool in our global society. As students come to this realization, they feel more empowered to make a difference and be agents of positive change in our world.