Physical Health and “Whole Child” Education
October 6, 2017

As schools across the nation provide a deeper focus on social and emotional learning and developing the “whole child,” advocates, parents, and educators are also shining a light on the important role physical health plays in development. Advocates in Delaware and Tennessee are looking to bring additional attention to this field as it continues to expand.

In Delaware, the Rodel Foundation recently released a report, Digging Deeper: Physical Health Impacts Education, Too, that highlights the relationship between physical health and education. The Rodel Foundation, one of the leaders in the “whole child” approach, points out that just as there is a positive correlation between educational attainment and career earnings, there is also one between educational attainment and physical health.

Students with high levels of education are more likely to enjoy healthier lifestyles, and physically active students tend to have better memory and exhibit on-task behavior—all traits necessary for academic success.

In addition to the report, the Rodel Foundation will be a part of The Vision Coalition of Delaware’s 10th Annual Conference at this end of this month, where school leaders, community members, and policymakers from across the state will converge at the University of Delaware to talk about the intersection of health and education.

In Tennessee, the State Collaborative on Reforming Education has also been busy in this movement. Over the summer, they released a policy memo, Better Health, Better Learning: Research on Improving Student Health and Academic Success, which also provides research that indicates strong ties between the overall health of students and their academic performance. Per the report, students who are physically active tend to have higher grade point averages, lower dropout rates, and fewer disciplinary problems, resulting in higher overall academic achievement. In addition to the report, SCORE hosted their own event over the summer, which featured a collection of conversations and discussions on the intersection between health and education outcomes.

While momentum has been growing on this topic, advocates continue to champion it’s importance to ensure students are set up for post-graduation success. To connect with with the Rodel Foundation or SCORE, please reach out.

Chris Nikolic

Chris is PIE Network's Associate, Research and Advancement

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