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Supporting the spiritual dimension of whole child development  

Children thrive where love is present. This is the conviction at the heart of Fetzer’s education work. We support constitutionally respectful programs, research, teacher development, and curricula that contribute to the spiritual dimension of whole child development. 

Instead of an education that values our children only for their academic achievements, this approach also supports a pluralistic, spiritual dimension of learning. Capacities like the ability to experience awe and wonder, the curiosity to ask life’s big questions, and knowing how to rest are our birthright, and they deserve to be welcomed into the classroom and nurtured in the same way we develop young learners’ proficiencies for reading and math.  

In this dimension of learning, K-12 students are discovering new types of growth and success that aid in academic achievement and their sense of possibility. They are mindfully and faithfully navigating stress, helping each other, wondering about the deepest possibilities for their futures, and finding meaning in the midst of the unknown. 

The Fetzer Institute’s commitment to whole child development is decades-long. In the 1990s, Fetzer played a significant funding and organizing role in the ground-breaking research for social and emotional learning and has been a longtime supporter of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. Now, 30 years later, we are working to add pluralistic, spiritual development into whole child curricula.

To learn more about the evolution of this work, watch the video below.

How Spirituality Affects Childhood Development

Our Education Work in Action

QUESTion project ambassador program, youth talking
Partner Snapshot

Creating a future by asking big questions

The QUESTion Project supports public high school students to build the foundations for their lives through a daily QUESTion where they can explore questions like Who am I? What is my purpose? What does a good life look like? 

Illustration of girl with a telescope
Partner snapshot

Measuring what matters in childhood development

This project from UNICEF and Learning for Well-being surveys research on childhood well-being, focusing on nine core capacities needed for spiritual development, including listening, reflecting, and empathizing. 

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Partner snapshot

Nurturing the spiritual capacity of educators

The Collaborative for Spirituality in Education transforms school cultures by nurturing the innate spiritual capacity of educators (independent of any doctrine, ideology, or religion) through enriching activities, engaging discourse, scientific research, and contemplative practices.

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Partner snapshot

Educating for joyful and meaningful success teaches the ability to listen with awareness, notice with empathy, and ask with curiosity in its work with teachers and youth to achieve authentic human well-being.   

Male teacher helping 2 elementary-aged students
Partner Snapshot

Supporting evidence-based social and emotional learning

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning translates research into action through field-tested resources and school district partnerships nationwide. 

male teacher helping 2 middle school students
Partner snapshot

Improving mental health and academic success

The Mindful Michigan Initiative offers a research-driven daily mindfulness program in schools to address the mental health crisis in youth.  

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