The GC-DWC Launches Ambitious Initiative to Scale Whole Child Development in Tribal and Social Welfare Schools and Beyond

Neil Boothby, the founding director of the Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child (GC-DWC), and Hannah Chandler, the center’s associate director of programs, are traveling to Hyderabad, India, to help scale whole child development in hundreds of Social Welfare and Tribal Societies schools over the next 12 months. The ambitious plan involves preparing 65 Society teachers to serve as day-to-day mentors and coaches for teachers in these residential schools for children from scheduled caste and vulnerable tribal communities. 

For the past year, the GC-DWC’s Project Sampoorna piloted a set of interventions in 16 residential schools aimed at creating safe and inclusive school environments and integrating social and emotional skills into all academic subjects and classroom activities.  The center’s unique iterative learning methods enabled the team to “learn through doing” and an informed scale-up plan is now possible. Two-week teacher-coaching workshops began May 29, followed by hands-on training in the initial pilot schools. Teacher-coaches will then return to residential schools to work full time to prepare principals, teachers, and staff to roll out the whole child development programs. An efficacy study is designed to measure the effectiveness of these efforts, reveal gaps in the approach, and inform research questions in the next phase. 

In June 2023, the GC-DWC team will offer a whole child development course at Osmania University as part of its undergraduate education degree program. It will utilize a flipped classroom approach and involve University of Notre Dame faculty, researchers, and Hyderabad-based staff. Eventually, additional courses will also be offered at Society’s colleges as another means of embedding whole child development approaches and practices in higher education institutions.