Holistic Education

A quality education should prepare each child to meet the challenges of the world, on top of enriching them through elite academics. Learning is no longer just about the acquisition of facts; knowledge needs to be applied to real-world situations with an understanding of consequences outside the bubble of the School ground.

An education system that encompasses a well-rounded, balanced education is one that produces active and productive global citizens who are globally-aware and engaged 21st century citizens.

For this to occur, students need opportunities to develop not just the knowledge, but the skills, mindset, and moral standards required for a successful career and private life after education. This mission calls for the provision of a holistic education; one concerned with the growth of a student’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical, artistic, creative and spiritual potentials, and which is in tune with each child’s unique needs and expertise. It actively engages students in the teaching and learning process, encouraging personal growth and collective responsibility.

Providing a secure environment in which students can explore their innate potential is essential in the delivery of this learning style. The dedicated schools that are providing this can enlighten students to skills they didn’t know they had, letting them dedicate time to areas in which they are truly passionate.

The advantages of this are felt throughout a child’s life as they gain a self-actualisation that instils confidence and self-worth.

Education doesn’t have to be boring, it can be a rich, experiential journey of discovery and expression, where all students and teachers grow together. It should be an inquiry-driven, interdisciplinary and integrated experience that takes into consideration all aspects of child development.

In holistic education, there are no deficits in learners, only differences.

Here are 5 schools providing a well-rounded education in a holistic environment…


At Woodside Priory – the only boarding institution to lie in the heart of the Silicon Valley –  students get a unique experience that places their wellbeing and development at its heart. Unlike other boarding schools in which teaching staff remain the primary caregivers right through to evening, the Priory enlists a full-time residential faculty that starts after class and runs over evenings and weekends.

This exceptional approach to student care ensures students are engaged throughout the day, receiving the round-the-clock attention they deserve while forming an integral part of a community in which they feel known and loved.

Image courtesy of Woodside Priory School

Originally founded by Benedictine monks in 1957, the core values of individuality, community, integrity, hospitality, and spirituality, remain at the centre of everything the Priory achieves, forming the basis of their balanced approach to education. As a testament to the School’s utmost dedication to the schoolwide integration of balance in student life, it recently received of a grant from the E.E. Ford Foundation, giving it the freedom and foundation to explore the best way to do just this.

A purveyor of cutting-edge educational thinking, the School recognises the advantages of holistic study. On top of traditional classroom learning, the students have the choice of over 30 clubs and activities that enable them to discover passions, develop strengths, apply academic knowledge in a practical way, develop self-esteem, and learn to make the choices needed to manage a busy independent schedule.


This all-girls boarding school passionately believes in empowering young women to become the leaders of tomorrow. This conviction in creating independent, socially-conscious adults has been the driving force behind the School’s overall learning objectives.

Considered equally as important as core academic subjects like English and Maths, leadership stands as a priority and girls are presented with numerous opportunities to embrace management principles through clubs and organisations like the Academic Decathlon, Feminists in Action, Speech and Debate Team, and the National Honor Society, whose motto is “leadership, scholarship, service”.

Image courtesy of Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy

The School covers a broad and diverse curriculum, so FSHA graduates leave as well-rounded young women who value personal attributes as well as academic.

Reflection and self-awareness are central to the annual spiritual retreats, which every year group attend. Girls are given time to reflect on their value and place in the world over a four-day getaway in some of California’s most beautiful spots.

They also recognise the value of social outreach in creating valuable members of society, so each student takes part in FSHA’s Service Program, which sees girls lead and organise group projects dedicated to community outreach.


Recognising that today’s teens have very different learning needs and expectations, Tilton School offers a highly-personalized education for every student. Teachers are dedicated to helping them build their own skill set; while a foundation is developed in the Arts, Humanities and Sciences, students are provided the freedom of venturing outside the formal curriculum as part of a self-designed learning program.

Image courtesy of Tilton School

Tilton School encourages students to strike out on their own, reaching beyond the classroom and into the world of work and learning beyond campus. Such programmes can take many forms; some choose to pursue independent study in one-on-one sessions alongside faculty members with certain expertise for which the student holds an interest. In the past these have included, Commercial Photography, Phenomenology and Existentialism, Financial Literacy, Sign Language, and Robotics.

Students can also take part in internship opportunities both on- and off-campus. Some choose to work with campus faculty members to pursue a possible career, while others go beyond campus boundaries to engage with area professionals, including Event Planning & Coordination, Business Management, Emergency Medical Training, Physical Therapy, Registered Nursing, and Product Development and Design.


The Ridley experience integrates a traditional liberal arts education with individual learning. By adopting an inquiry-based approach to education, students are enabled to guide their own learning, discover and pursue their passions, and overcome a challenge.

This creates students well-versed in critical thinking, dialogue, analysis, and immersive exploration of the ideas that will transform our globe.

Image courtesy of Ridley College

With students from over 45 countries, Ridley’s traditions are shaped by a global perspective. A strong world-view is at the helm of campus culture, embracing diversity and exposing students to ideas and life approaches they can’t receive anywhere else.

The School also places a strong emphasis on service, as is reflected in their motto – Terar Dum Prosim (May I be Consumed in Service) – and students are urged to provide service to others, both in their immediate community and around the world. They learn the importance of enhancing the lives of others through selfless labour, such as local fundraising campaigns and service trips to developing countries.


Cheltenham College aims to equip students for fulfilled and purposeful lives through the provision of an elite all-round education founded on Christian principles.

On top of traditional classroom learning, there’s also an abundance of co-curricular activities on offer to ensure students can pursue their interests and develop a well-rounded outlook of the world.

Image courtesy of Cheltenham College

The Combined Cadet Force refines student leadership skills, responsibility, self-reliance, teamwork and perseverance. Offering challenging and stimulating tasks within a safe environment, cadets learn the value of working together and the importance of knowing themselves.

Cheltenham also offers a wealth of clubs and societies to suit all interests including the Biomedical Society for aspiring Medics, Vets and Dentists, the Economics and Business Society, the Modern Languages Society, and the Christian Union.


*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International