What is Whole Child Education?

A whole child approach to education is grounded in research and ensures students are healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged. Ohio's 1.7 million students arrive at school each day with the opportunity to achieve their personal goals, pursue their passions and aspirations, gain new and diverse perspectives, discover new knowledge and understanding and interact with peers and caring adults. Schools often meet basic needs — including access to nutritious food, health care services and a safe, warm environment — to ensure students are set up for success and ready to effectively engage in learning.

Ohio’s four equal learning domains outlined in the strategic plan contribute to the holistic success of each child. These include foundational knowledge and skills, well-rounded content, leadership and reasoning skills and social-emotional learning. The four equal learning domains enable schools to challenge, prepare and empower students for success beyond high school by giving them tools to become resilient, lifelong learners.


Five Whole Child Tenets and Indicators

The Ohio Department of Education’s Whole Child Framework has five tenets that complement the four learning domains in Each Child, Our Future. The tenets of Ohio’s Whole Child Framework operationalize the four learning domains by recognizing students’ basic physiological and psychological needs must be met before they can fully engage in complex learning and social activities. When students are healthy, feel safe, are supported through strong systems and relationships, are challenged and experience success, and are engaged in learning that is relevant and meaningful, they are more likely to enjoy learning, develop positive social skills and achieve greater success.
For each of the five tenets, there are 10 key school indicators. Each indicator begins with the phrase “Our school…” to signify its representation of school attributes to which each school should aspire. The five tenets and related school indicators were adapted from ASCD’s Whole Child Framework and School Improvement Tool. Schools can use the related indicators to define goals and outcomes for each tenet. They can serve as a whole child needs assessment within the school improvement process. The tenets and indicators should be shared and discussed with staff, parents and community. The following are the five tenets:

  • Healthy: Each student enters school healthy and learns about and practices a healthy lifestyle.
  • Safe: Each student learns in an environment that is physically and emotionally safe for students and adults.
  • Supported: Qualified, caring adults support each student in way that addresses each student's individual needs and circumstances.
  • Challenged: Each student is challenged academically and prepared for success.
  • Engaged: Each student is actively engaged in learning and connected to the school and broader community.

The complete Whole Child Framework document describes more information about each tenet and indicator of the framework. The full document provides more information about the 12 components and other details captured in the graphic.

Last Modified: 6/30/2022 10:39:08 AM