In most schools, a student’s success is measured solely by academic performance. However, Sappo School believes that education is the “experience of wholeness that leads to openness, intimacy, and collaboration” (Albano, 2006). It is because of this belief that Sappo takes a philosophical approach to educating its students using a method known as holistic education.
To fully understand the concept of holistic education, it is important to look at the true meaning of each word. The root word of education, “educare”, means “to bring forth.” Holistic is based on a Greek word that means whole, entire, or all. Together, holistic education is designed to look at a student as a whole, instead of simply academically. This education program brings out the best performance in every child by considering social, emotional, physiological, and academic aspects.
Throughout the years, humanistic proponents including John Dewey, Abraham Maslow, and Carl Jung have contributed to holistic education. Even with years of writings and teachings, defining and properly utilizing holistic education in the classroom has been a challenge. An easy way to understand the purpose of this program is to consider Aristotle’s writing “Metaphysics” which states, “The whole is more than the sum of its parts.” In relation to holistic education, this simply means that emotions, social function, strengths, and weaknesses are considered when teaching the student.
This program requires that each educator within Sappo School must know each student comprehensively in order to get the greatest response in the classroom. This results in a more personalized learning experience for each child. Challenges can be conquered, strengths are highlighted, and a child is more motivated to exceed. Whole-brain learning occurs within the Sappo classroom, providing a more complete and comprehensive education.
Sappo’s approach is designed to provide a strong foundation where core values are shaped. These values include purpose, compassion, and integrity. Students who learn these values have a more positive self and the courage to go into the world with confidence. The combination of techniques used within the Sappo classroom provide an exceptional and meaningful education unlike any other.
“If we value independence, if we are disturbed by the growing conformity of knowledge, of values, of attitudes, which our present system induces, then we may wish to set up conditions of learning which make for uniqueness, for self-directions, and for self-initiated learning.” – Carl Rogers