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The Whole Child, Whole Life approach can help kids thrive.
Stephanie Malia Krauss, a mom of two boys and an author with a background in education and social work, wrote Whole Child, Whole life: 10 Ways to Help Kids Live, Learn, & Thrive because she realized that parents, educators, coaches, community leaders (and so many others!) all need to know how to nurture the whole child. Focusing on certain aspects of a child’s development — say, their academic or athletic development — while neglecting other aspects of the child’s identity can inhibit growth and even inflict harm.
“Kids bring their whole human selves onto the field and into the school building,” Krauss says. “You might see them as just ‘an athlete’ or ‘a student,’ but that’s not how they’re experiencing every interaction.”
Brokenness, shes says, shows up when a child is “persistently and chronically in environments and experiences that ignore, devalue, or demean aspects of themselves. It occurs when kids’ basic needs are not consistently met — when kids spend a lot of time in environments where they feel like they don’t belong.
Meeting Boys’ Basic Needs Can Help Them Become Whole
All humans have basic needs that must be met to sustain life. Children have additional basic needs that must be met if they are to thrive.
“Children – including tweens and teens — need time for play. They need downtime and they need purpose. They need a sense that they’re in this world for some reason,” Krauss says. Kids, of course, also need sleep, movement, and nutrition, but they need more of some of these things (sleep, for instance) than adults do.
Krauss encourages parents and educators to broaden their focus. Instead of aiming for “college and career readiness,” she wants adults to think about “what does this kid need for a long life that they love?”
In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Stephanie discuss:
- Wholeness vs brokeness
- 10 Whole Life practices
- Awe & wonder
- Brain/body connection
- Nurturing the whole child
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:
Whole Child, Whole Life: 10 Ways to Help Kids Live, Learn, & Thrive, by Stephanie Malia Krauss
stephaniemaliakrauss.com — Stephanie’s website
Making It: What Today’s Kids Need for Tomorrow’s World, by Stephanie Malia Krauss