Develop the Whole Child within the Whole Community
At the core of any great institution is the belief in its own unique mission. There can be no compromise here because at the deepest level, our mission drives all that we do and all that we accomplish. I believe developing a sense of community is the first step in creating a positive learning environment. Events such as our Tuesday Picnic provide all of us the opportunity to come together as community.
I want to thank all of you who attended our wonderful picnic at Jack Fischer Park. The weather was beautiful as I was learning is the norm. An important component of the educational magic that happens at Casa occurs at special events like our Picnic Tuesday night. Like the ripples that occur when a pebble is dropped into a pond, events like Tuesday’s gathering creates an “extended classroom” that supports your child’s education. Our children witness their parents connecting with other parents in respectful ways. In this sense, we develop the whole child within the whole environment.
I vividly remember the first time I really understood the idea of developing the whole child. It was my first year at Harvard and one of my professors was drawing an illustration of the whole child using a flower with each pedal representing the different areas of a child’s life including the psychological, social, physical, emotional, spiritual, and moral domain of the child. The professor simply drew the following image of the whole child on a poster board.
This image made sense to me. The simple diagram depicted the different domains of the child. I would learn later that these domains, although separate, overlap, and influence each other in significant ways. Each of these domains have been researched by the great psychologists such as Lawrence Kohlberg, Robert Coles, Carol Gilligan and written about by educators such as John Dewey and Maria Montessori. It was not until I lived and taught in a boarding school, as an educator, that I began to understand how each of these separate domains are connected to the real lives of children.
As a headmaster, I realized the above diagram was only half of the total whole child equation. The magic of Casa, for example, is that the teachers as guides understand that we in fact develop the whole child within the whole community. Our model when it comes to Education is an interactive model in which children take a hands-on approach when learning new subjects; additionally, this model also includes not just relationships in the classroom but also on the playground, field trips, cultural night, and picnics with the community families. Here is the second part of the interactive educational model.
At Casa, what we excel at is educating future leaders and innovators & bringing people together to form a better society. We have a strong and connected community. I want to thank all the teachers and parents who understand the value of the whole community joining in the educational process. Events such as cultural night, picnics, and moving furniture day create a powerful community classroom the adults model a shared vision of child development. The many voices presented in a consistent and connected way deepens the child’s learning.
We all look forward to seeing you 2018-2019 school year.
Dr. Jeff Beedy