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Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model

This is an excerpt from Health and Physical Education for Elementary Classroom Teachers 2nd Edition With HKPropel Access by Retta R. Evans & Sandra Kay Sims.

To more adequately prepare students for the challenges and opportunities of today, the ASCD launched its “whole child” initiative. This initiative was part of an effort to change the conversation about education from a narrow focus on academic achievement to a more holistic approach promoting long-term development and success of children. As a result of the “whole child” initiative, ASCD partnered with the CDC to develop a model for improving student learning and health in U.S. schools. The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model combines elements of the traditional coordinated school health approach with ASCD’s whole child framework, aiming to provide students with improved knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to health and increased educational and social outcomes. The whole child framework focuses attention on the child with a schoolwide collaborative approach, ensuring that each student is healthy, safe, supported, engaged, challenged, and poised for success (ASCD, 2020). Learning and health are interrelated and students are active participants in both.

The WSCC model (figure 3.2) provides a framework for integration and collaboration between education and health in order to improve student cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development. When reviewing the WSCC model, notice that the child is in the center of the figure, surrounded by the tenets of the whole child initiative, whereby students are safe, engaged, supported, challenged, and healthy. The school surrounds the child, acting as the framework that provides the needed policies, practices, and systems for each child’s learning and healthy development. The community resides on the outer edges of the model because, although the school acts as the framework, school is a reflection of the community and requires input, resources, and collaboration from the community.

Figure 3.2 The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model.
Figure 3.2 The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model. Reprinted from ASCD (2020).

Whereas the traditional coordinated school health model contained 8 components, the WSCC contains 10. Healthy and safe school environment has been broken into two distinct components: social and emotional climate and physical environment. In addition, family and community involvement has been separated into the categories of family engagement and community involvement. These changes highlight the importance of both the school’s physical and psychosocial environments and the influence of community and family support on the healthy development and academic success of students. See table 3.1 for examples of how to use the 10 components of the WSCC model to develop school health strategies.