Holistic Education in Austin, Texas
Learning that Inspires for Life.
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”
Attributed to W.B. Yeats
The first questions we ask students are, What Lights you up? What inspires you? We use those answers to drive the learning process – not just for the child, but for the moms, dads, guardians, and the Mentors (teachers)!
At Whole Life Learning Center, Mentors support the Whole child, and are committed to all facets of growth and development: intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual. We understand that all learning happens in relationship: relationship with the world, with each other, and with ourselves. From a place of deep inspiration, we help students cultivate these relationships – this is Whole Life Learning.
The Aims of Whole Life Learning
“Above all, know thyself.” Whole Life Learners will develop the ability to self-reflect, considering their own thoughts, feelings, words & actions. They will grow with an awareness of their strengths and weaknesses, their inspirations, goals and dreams, as well as their unique talents and gifts.
Whole Life Learners will cultivate the confidence to express themselves fully, take on new challenges, pursue their passions and share their gifts with others.
Academic Excellence & a Love of Learning
Whole Life Learners will have the academic skills and tenacity to thrive wherever they go, along with a genuine curiosity and inspiration that nurtures the drive for lifelong learning.
Wonder & Joy
Whole Life Learners will cultivate their sense of wonder and awe and take joy in the beauty and mystery of Life, Nature and the Cosmos.
Whole Life Learners connect with the wellspring of imaginative creativity within them, expressed through a variety of arts, critical thinking, and problem solving skills.
Whole Life Learners will expand their understanding of how to recognize and process the wide range of human emotions in themselves and others, while developing fluency for communicating about those feelings and empathizing with others.
Community Connection & Global Citizenship
Whole Life Learners will be connected with their community both at WLLC and beyond, and be able to cultivate healthy, caring relationships in their lives. They will understand their place in the world and ecosystem, be willing to speak out against injustice and work to make a difference in the world.
Why Whole Life?
Whole Child Learning
Through multiple intelligence learning, we engage intellectual, physical/kinesthetic, social/emotional and spiritual growth, fostering self-confidence, connection, a sense of fulfillment and purpose.
We recognize the unfolding stages of human development. Prioritizing your child’s primary needs and organizing principles at each stage, we craft curriculum to nourish their optimal development and learning.
Ecological, Place-based Education
We learn about and explore our local ecosystem and use the principles of permaculture to interact with our surroundings in a regenerative way. We explore the history and biodiversity of our land to know it – and ourselves – more fully.
We study the many unique cultures of our world through history, mythology, arts and the sciences. Examining the root causes of violence and injustice, as well as the things that unite our diverse world as a global village, we strive to learn from our past to co-create a peaceful future.
Rather than compartmentalizing each subject, we build cross-curricular connections, weaving cultural themes throughout our studies and creating broader contexts for understanding complexity.
Emergent and Differentiated
For true learning to occur the learner must feel connected to the subject – better yet, inspired by it! Whole Life Learning is about drawing out those inspirations and creating space for each learner’s unique gifts to grow through weekly projects and explorations.
“When it was time for kindergarten – time to trust her to strangers – I wanted it to be someplace I myself would want to go if I were a little kid. A place where kindness is part of the curriculum, and everyone is nice to each other. I didn’t want her to have Sunday night anxiety like I did as a kid. I wanted school to be an extension of the joyful life I’ve tried so hard to give her. My child asks to go to bed early so that morning will come sooner so that she can go back to school! That’s why we love Whole Life learning Center.”
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you have done and continue to do for my family and so many children and families. I am full of gratitude that such a healthy, vibrant community exists and that we get to be a part of it. Every element, the space, the routines, and each Mentor, is awe-inspiring and when they all come together it is quite the living miracle! I know from your side a lot of work and dedication go into it. I talk to friends, co-workers and just about everyone about the school and all of you and I usually have tears in my eyes when I describe the Mentors, Opening & Closing Circles, the way you incorporate movement, the way you model and teach conflict resolution, love of our Earth and fellow people, and the way you flow with the differing needs and personalities of each learner.”
The Whole Life Learning Center is education outside the box.
Life is interconnected, dynamic, and evolving. Though we ensure our learners can engage the constructs of living in a complex world (it takes reading, math and writing to do that), our curriculum also blends emergence: we meet each learner right where they are and develop a holistic Learning Plan, based on their inspirations, recognizing the whole child – body, mind, heart and spirit. Inherent in our philosophy is a trust that children, and humans in general, are natural learners, especially when inspiration is nurtured and core genius is tapped.
This is a surprisingly commonsense, yet radically revolutionary educational model: Whole Life Learning.
The process of Whole Life Learning is about nurturing the love of learning. We create the container – an enriching and supportive community environment – so that your child has the space to truly flourish.
Whole Life Learning also recognizes that the quality of learning is not simply in the content or the material being studied. The quality of learning is dependent upon context, the environment and conditions in which one learns. Rather than a context of reward and punishment, we create a context of inspiration. Rather than a context of competition, we create a context of collaboration. Rather than a context of obedience and authority, we create a context of peaceful conflict resolution, consensus decision making, love and respect. We believe it is within such contexts that a true love of learning can develop, along with the critical skills of working with others to make decisions, plan projects, innovate, and achieve goals: skills that will last for your child’s whole life.