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Our guiding principles

  • Learning is a lifelong process that occurs socially and emotionally.  
  • Each child is vibrant, unique, and full of strengths - no child is a problem to be solved.   
  • Children need culturally-responsive, self-reflective, nurturing, and engaging adults and environments.  
  • Youth and families are experts in their own lives; their voices, especially when historically marginalized, should be centered.
  • A community that lifts all identities and stories, strengthens its relationships, and everyone’s learning.  
  • Equity-based social and emotional learning has the power to enrich and transform adult practices and the systems where children grow, learn, and play. 

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How we partner

The Whole Child Connection of Children’s Institute differentiates itself from other organizations by:

  • Implementing equity-centered SEL and whole child approaches takes intention, planning, and time. Our goal is sustained collaboration and customized services based on your community’s needs and priorities.   
  • Our training, consultation, and supports are grounded in equity, evidence, and experience.   
  • We know that your community is your greatest asset. Our role is to facilitate your process and assist you in setting goals and leveraging strengths.
  • One-time trainings are good for level setting and introducing language and concepts. But true change takes collaboration, commitment, practice, and ongoing coaching and support. 

Who we work with

In order to transform systems of care and education, we work across settings including:

  • Pre-K to Grade 12 schools and districts
  • Early care and education programs
  • Afterschool, expanded, and summer learning programs
  • Parents and caregivers
  • Child-serving health and human service providers 
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What Is Whole Child Development?

The Whole Child Connection recognizes four primary areas necessary to supporting whole child development:

Foster Healthy Relationships: Consistent, supportive relationships with caregivers, families, other adults, and peers lay the foundation for the development of strong brain architecture and support learning, social-emotional well-being, and resilience.

Create Safe and Secure Environments and Support Psychological Safety: Safe environments limit children's exposure to violence and other trauma, physical injury, environmental risks, and other threats to health development. They enable childre to fully engage in learning and play. 

Cultivate Skills and Competencies: Through play as well as developmentally and culturally appropriate instruction, children develop the social-emotional competencies, literacy and other core academic skills that foster achievement and well-being throughout life.

Build Healthy Habits: Effective teaching and modeling as well as access to healthy food and spaces for play foster health eating, physical activity, adequate sleep and other habits that contribute to lifelong physical and mental health.


Stay Connected
Connect with Us

We would love to hear from you. Contact us with your questions about our work and ways we can support or partner with you.

Whole Child Connection Director

edevaney [at] childrensinstitute.net (Elizabeth Devaney)
Director, Whole Child Connection