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Whole-Child Design Blueprint


Educators are given the critical and challenging task of creating classrooms and schools that truly support each child and their holistic development—so students will know their worth, discover their interests and passions, and develop their skills, competencies, and identities. Unlike prescriptive models and curricula, Turnaround for Children’s Whole-Child Design Blueprint is meant to be used as a visioning tool—supporting educators to look through the lens of whole-child development and design and take action toward the change they seek.

A Framework for Transformational Change

The framework’s components and core practices together make up a way to think about, organize and integrate practices that are aligned with the ways the brain learns and how children develop.

  • Whole-Child Purpose: A shared vision and commitment to holistic development and equitable outcomes for all students that drives improvement goals and priorities.
  • Supportive Environment: Co-creating a supportive school and classroom environment that is physically, emotionally, and identity safe, while creating a strong sense of community and belonging. 
  • Developmental Relationships: Making relationships – among teachers, students, leaders, families – the foundation. Moving beyond simply being kind and developing positive relationships characterized by emotional attachment, joint, reciprocal interactions, progressive complexity, and balance of power.
  • Knowledge, Skill and Mindset Building: Create rich learning experiences that intentionally include and simultaneously develop academic, cognitive, social and emotional skills and mindsets along with personalized and integrated supports.
  • Shared Leadership and Ownership: Transformational change requires thinking about things in new ways and empowering staff to co-construct new solutions while being supported to continuously improve.


Practitioners can choose any entry point, but in all pathways, we must directly confront and address institutional oppression and discrimination based on race, class, language, disability, or gender that has long prevented too many students from living the lives they choose.

We know that this required redesign will only be successful if we leverage and include the voices, assets and experiences of all stakeholders—educators, students, families, and communities. Together, we can create learning settings that protect children from the damaging effects of stress and promote wellness all at the same time. 


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