Sharing the Philosophy of Teaching the Whole Child

LOS ANGELES (April 10, 2012) - A group of Chinese educators, searching for ideas on raising student participation in class, recently visited Serrania Avenue Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The travelers included more than two dozen teachers, principals and curriculum specialists from 10 provinces in China. They toured the Woodland Hills campus for two hours, seeing first-hand how principal, Robin Toder, structures the academic program on her goal of educating the whole child.

“They want to learn how to make their schools more participatory for their students, which American elementary school do quite well, using small group instruction, group work as well as tailoring instruction to the needs of each child,” Toder said.

The educators, who were scheduled to visit A.C. Stelle Middle School in Calabassas and Charter High School in Granada Hills, began their day at Serrania. Receiving a lesson in cultural exchange, the children honored their visitors with a bow, and pronounced a Chinese greeting that means “welcome.” Some students sang a Western-themed song, as they square-danced and wore cowboy hats.

In the classrooms, the educators saw children absorbing lessons in character and creativity. Students were engaged in art, music and other subjects that developed their skills and ability to think critically.

Toder hopes the guests took away ideas on helping pupils reach their potential inside and outside of the classroom.

“Not only do we want our students to achieve as highly as possible in all academic areas,” she said, “but we want them to be good people, too.”