Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child: A Holistic, Adaptable and Contextual Approach to Health
From the time that a child enters preschool or kindergarten, to their eventual graduation and transition to adulthood, the school environment is the constant, formative experience of childhood, and a leading influencer of child health and well-being. At the most basic of levels, schools are the primary convener of children for the purposes of growth and development.
Though stakeholders in child health have recognized for decades the potential for greater integration and collaboration between schools, medical and social health services, new momentum is building from recent efforts to unify and coordinate stakeholder services and accountability. Named the “Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child” model, this approach merges and builds upon core tenets of the two leading models for school health: the Coordinated School Health (CSH) model, and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development’s (ASCD) Whole Child model.
Highlights of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) Model
The WSCC model is designed to be a systematic, integrated and collaborative model for local evaluation and investment in the health of students, schools and communities. It builds on the leading socioecological models that guide research and practice in health and education, like Urie Bronfenbrenner’s “Ecological Framework for Human Development,” public health and health promotion models, and Lohrmann’s “Ecological Model of the Coordinated School Health Program.”
WSCC focuses on how to integrate health and education. It intentionally resists prescriptive interventions, and instead identifies the critical sectors, stakeholders, and elements that independently and collectively hold authority and accountability to improve child health.
WSCC recognizes and addresses the direct relationship between education and health. The model recognizes the role that social determinants of health play on the cognitive, physical and emotional development of children, and subsequently, near and long-term health and education outcomes.
WSCC appropriately emphasizes the need for school, district and public policies to incentivize and reinforce a unified approach to health and education. These policies are most effective when matched with clear accountability for outcomes, process and outcomes-based measures.
Effective implementation of the WSCC model requires thoughtful coalition-building, effective facilitation of cross-section collaboration and design, comprehensive analysis of policies and incentives, and transparent, rigorous measurement to reinforce initial behavior change and gauge impact on student outcomes. Genesis Health Consulting’s expertise in each of these domains can set your organization up for success. Contact us to learn more.