Learning and Health
The sectors of health and education serve the same youth, in the same locations, and are often treating the same or related issues. The child who is unhealthy—physically, socially, emotionally, or mentally—struggles to excel in school just as the child who is underprepared by education struggles to maintain health and well-being, often for years to come. Learning and health are symbiotic, with one serving and supporting the other.
Although this concept has been understood for centuries, we have established systems that divide the child into parts, treating them as a set of pieces rather than a whole child. This division stems not from lack of care or understanding, but from systems established, funded, and built up to view these sectors as separate entities—even when serving the same individual.
A healthy, safe, and supportive environment—one which advances the health and well-being of teachers and students—is also the same environment that is most conducive to effective teaching and learning. ASCD has maintained a focus on promoting learning and health since its founding in 1943 and, more recently, has directed attention toward a greater alignment of these key sectors for the sake of each child.
1998: Health in Education Initiative
2006: Healthy School Communities Pilot Study
2007: Whole Child Initiative
2008: Healthy School Communities Program
2013: Global School Health Symposia and Statement
2014: Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child: A Collaborative Approach to Learning and Health