Teacher Preparation for Whole-Child Design
Many educators and policymakers have long recognized the need to transform schools and classrooms to better support students’ academic, social, and emotional needs. The increased stress, mental health challenges, disconnection and disengagement, and inequities observed during the pandemic have reaffirmed the need to create safe, welcoming learning environments for students and educators alike. A whole-child approach, which prioritizes the full scope of a child’s developmental needs—academic, social, emotional, cognitive, physical, and psychological—is an important step toward this end. This approach can improve student and school outcomes. When it becomes part and parcel of educator preparation, it can also overcome major hurdles such as the teacher shortages nearly every state is facing.
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State policymakers looking to increase recruitment and retention should keep an eye on these long-term trends.
State statutes impede students' equitable access to profession-ready teachers.
Lowering teacher standards may fail to solve actual pipeline problems and can create new ones.
State leaders have a role in ensuring that educator preparation both models and reflects the science of learning and development.
State leaders commit to efforts to attract and keep teachers in the classroom.
State-level criteria for programs' design can yield better outcomes in preparing and retaining diverse teachers.
State boards can set the stage for learning environments that connect and engage all students.
Four practices to increase the pool of skilled early educators stand out as promising.