Evidence-Based Resources to Support the Whole Child

As schools and districts increase their alignment to Each Child Our Future, Ohio’s new strategic plan for education, we are seeing increased interest in improving educator practices and building level systems that support the whole child.

In fact, this week, ODE will release the first School Climate Grant in many years. This new grant offers elementary schools that serve K-3 students as much as $5,000 per school ($50,000 district max) to support PBIS and/or evidence- or research-based social and emotional learning initiatives. In addition, many schools and community-based organizations are currently preparing 21st Century Community Learning Center grant applications (due April 26), which must include evidence-based youth development strategies, such as social and emotional learning.

Read on to learn more about a few of our favorite curriculum ideas that support the whole child. Each Child Our Future addresses the whole child by describing four Learning Domains:

  • Foundational Knowledge & Skills (FKS) Literacy, numeracy and technology
  • Well Rounded Content (WRC) Social studies, sciences, languages, health, arts, physical education, etc.
  • Leadership and Reasoning (LR) Problem solving, design thinking, creativity, information analytics
  • Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Self awareness and management, social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision making

We firmly believe that for each child to thrive, learning experiences must integrate the Learning Domains, and so each of the resources in our list directly impact at least three Learning Domains. We used the abbreviations listed above to demonstrate the alignment for each resource or service.  

Curriculum Ideas for Expanded Learning

LiFEsports (WRC, LR, SEL)

LiFEsports (Learning in Fitness and Education through Sports) is a sports-based, positive youth development program developed at The Ohio State University for summer and afterschool programs serving youth ages 8-14. It can also be integrated within an elementary or middle level physical education program.  Curriculum and training fees start at $4,000 per year.

Inventionland Institute Innovation Curriculum  (FKS, WRC, LR, SEL)

Hands-on, personalized, project-based learning that teaches the real-world knowledge needed to succeed in the classroom and in life. Students experience real-world inventing, innovation and entrepreneurship as they bring their original ideas to life, while building a solid foundation of career-ready skills. Students learn to use observational skills, develop ideas, research ideas, design, make, package and present them. Students are taught how to create their own products and pitch them… think Shark Tank. Curriculum and training fees start at $5,000 per year. Grants for small and rural schools may help offset the costs (https://envisionedplus.com/2019/01/29/grant-watch-2019-kick-off-edition/).

Hummingbird and Finch Robotics Kits (FKS, WRC, LR)

Birdbrain Technologies, cultivates creativity and computational thinking by providing flexible and inspiring products: the Finch Robot and the Hummingbird Robotics Kit. Founded through the CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University, Birdbrain provides amazing interdisciplinary robotics kits supported by free, standards-aligned curriculum in subjects including English, ecology, math and music. Robotic kits average $99 each, but there are opportunities for grants and loan programs. Standards-aligned curriculum and professional learning are free. Also, check out their AWESOME K-12 Reading List with a variety of fiction and non-fiction books that inspire interest in computer science and innovation learning.

NASA Out of School Learning (NOSL) Curriculum and Design Challenges (FKS, WRC, LR)

NOSL curriculum modules include engineering design challenges, inquiry-based lessons and citizen science recommendations that align to Next Generation Science Standards. All curriculum is free and can be used across the K-12 continuum.  Also check out NOSL family activities. NASA provides free downloads of STEM activities designed to get the entire family engaged in learning.

Whole Child Focused Professional Learning Opportunities

If you are looking for professional learning that helps educators better support the whole child, consider these EnvisionEdPlus PD options.  Contact Tricia Moore (tricia@envisionedplus.com) or 614.357.4439 for more information.  

PBL Instructional Framework (FKS, WRC, LR, SEL)

The EnvisionEdPlus PBL Instructional Framework is uniquely positioned to support adult learners by improving professional skills to: use design thinking to challenge children to discover their world and love learning; create design challenges that embed social and emotional learning and 21st Century skill building within daily instruction so youth develop resilience skills; and implement Problem Based Learning as a strategy to engage students in mastering Ohio’s Learning Standards while solving real-world problems that will prepare them for success in high school and beyond.

Brain-Based Strategies to Support Trauma-Impacted Youth (WRC, LR, SEL)

In partnership with Still-Light Seminars, EnvisionEdPlus offers a variety of research-based trainings to help educators understand the adolescent brain and then design classroom instruction, positive behavior interventions and building level systems with the brain in mind.  The training menu also includes topics such as “Do”-Able Discipline, Choose Not to Lose, motivating at-risk youth, and understanding and dealing with youth depression.

Care Team Implementation (WRC, LR, SEL)

Care Teams are school-based, wraparound service teams that link schools, community and youth service providers, courts and health services to ‘wrap’ supports around the most at-risk students and their families. EnvisionEdPlus assists school and district leaders to a) build collaborative partnerships with support service providers; b) create protocols for case management, family engagement and data-sharing; c) align and strengthen multi-tiered systems of support; d) build collaboration skills among school staff and service providers; and e) use data to inform decision-making that improves individual student outcomes as well as school-wide indicators of success.

Advancing Districtwide Alignment to Ohio’s New Strategic Plan (FKS, WRC, LR, SEL)

Beginning with the end in mind, EnvisionEdPlus supports districts as they engage in community conversations to develop (or update) their Portrait of a Graduate, identifying the key knowledge, skills and habits essential for each student to thrive well beyond graduation. Following this process, our team can assist district and building leaders in re-envisioning operational systems so that preK-12 teaching and learning experiences align to the new vision.  

~Michele Timmons, EnvisionEdPlus President

(michele@envisionedplus.com 614.893.7341)

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