Growing the Whole Child Movement
From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope, released in January 2019 by the Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, spurred a national conversation about how young people learn. The central idea of the Commission’s work deeply resonated with the experience of families, educators, and community leaders alike: that children learn best when they are treated as whole people with social emotional, and academic needs. Following the release, America’s Promise Alliance launched the How Learning Happens initiative to maintain momentum around the Commission’s and other's ideas and insights on how young people learn and to broaden the tent of youth-serving adults engaged in this approach. What has happened since the Commission’s report from and to the nation? To commemorate the one-year anniversary of A Nation At Hope, America’s Promise Alliance brought together thought leaders, Alliance partners and funders and youth to discuss what’s next for this work.
This gathering of leaders from national youth-serving and community organizations, philanthropy, schools and districts, and state education agencies highlighted how their work in research, practice, communications, and policy is furthering a whole child approach and, in the process, affecting young people’s lives. The leaders discussed how to continue to enhance collaboration and fuel progress on the mutually reinforcing work that has emerged or evolved since the release of the Commission’s report.
It’s clear that over the last year we’ve made tangible progress and, by working together, we can grow the movement in support of whole child approaches to learning and development.