Holistic Education

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~ What IS Holistic Education and how is it different from other ways of teaching and learning? ~

Holistic education is designed to look at a student as a whole, instead of simply academically. Living Learning’s holistic education program is designed to bring out the best performance in every child by considering social, emotional, physiological, and academic aspects.

Throughout the years, John Dewey, Abraham Maslow, and Carl Jung have contributed to research on holistic education. However, even with the writings and teachings of great researchers, defining and effectively utilizing holistic education in the classroom has been a challenge. In most schools, a student’s success is measured solely by academic performance. An easy way to understand the purpose of our educational program is to consider Aristotle’s words, “The whole is more than the sum of its parts.” In relation to our work, this simply means that all emotional, social, and physical abilities are considered in our mission and throughout our programs.



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Goals of holistic education include attention to experiential learning and the significance of relationships and human values within a community and the environment.


“If we value independence, if we are disturbed by the growing conformity of knowledge, of values, of attitudes, which our present system induces, then we may wish to set up conditions of learning which make for uniqueness, for self-directions, and self-initiated learning.” – Carl Rogers

Experiential Learning

Learning through reflection on doing. Creating knowledge from meaningful experiences. The “invisible learning or creation of new neural pathways in the mind that are necessary to achieve “lightbulb” moments.

Montessori, Waldorf and Reggio advocated for the consideration of the whole child and ample opportunities for invisible learning, but even these approaches still point to lessons taking place largely indoors. The limitless opportunities for learning provided by the outdoors cannot be replicated.

 Children develop skills, knowledge, and values through direct experiences that take place outside of a traditional academic setting. No walls here.

 Through adventures, come new skills.

The greatest classroom and the richest cupboard is roofed only by the sky. Margaret McMillan (1925)

nature based learning

A Mentoring Mentality

duo snowAt Living Learning we nurture nature connected communities through mentoring and experiential development. We celebrate the experience of elders and the process of learning and growing.

Mentoring aids in the development of individual confidence and leadership skills. Children are then excited to take on new challenges and begin new adventures both as a group and on their own.


Mentors provide a strong foundation where core values are shaped in a peaceful, anxiety-free environment. These values include purpose, compassion, and integrity. Students who learn these values have a better sense of self and in turn, approach the world with confidence. A combination of educational techniques and a strong understanding of pedagogy provides an exceptional and meaningful education unlike any other.

Participative Culture & Community Building


Holistic education is a community based approach to lifelong learning. Our belief is that children, adults, and community members should be working together as stewards for the health of all people and our natural world.

Glorious PLAY. Across all cultures, it is impossible to separate the triad of play, learning, and development.

Research shows that PLAY is a main factor in shaping the structural design of the brain as well as building and enhancing neurological pathways.

Positive effects of PLAY

  • Pretend scenarios help children learn how to work through frustrations, challenges, and fears.
  • Play includes mental, physical, and verbal engagement.
  • Active play helps develop fine and gross motor skills.
  • Builds communication and problem solving skills.
  • Play is process oriented learning. Children learn cause and effect and how a difference in process can effect the results.
  • Play results in an increase in self motivation and in turn, creates a lifelong learner!

Mindful Learning


The world is a fascinating place. Mindful learning increases mental flexibility, self reliance, and personal growth. Modeling and gently guiding children to mindful learning helps develop these skills. 


How do students who participate in holistic education programs perform in later stages of life?

Statistics show that “students educated in non-traditional education programs, specifically holistic and alternative education programs…consistently outperform students educated through traditional educational institutions in interpersonal skills, motivation, engagement, and both academic and professional achievement”.

Is this the kind of future you’d like to see for your children?

Longitudinal studies on holistic education show that the “experience of wholeness [learned though holistic education] leads to openness, intimacy, and collaboration”. (Albano, 2006).

Jennifer Hotchkiss, Founder and Director of Living Learning, LLC

Jennifer has been working with children and families in various capacities for over 20 years. With many years of experience in both traditional and alternative education settings, she has observed tremendous differences between students in holistic based education programs and children in traditional classroom settings. Living Learning, LLC was created in order to help provide the most current (research based) education of the whole child, supportive information to families, and to help inform communities of current findings regarding development and family rights. As an experienced yoga/meditation guide for all ages, Jennifer weaves yoga, mindfulness, and breathing strategies into all of her educational and supportive programs. This skill set along with with decades of facilitating leadership and teambuilding workshops as a CT Experiential Educator, enable Jennifer to create and deliver unique, high quality, programs that both nurture and empower participants.

Jennifer holds a MA in Education and a BA in Social Systems, both from Quinnipiac University.


Yoga & Mindfulness

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Group sessions as well as private yoga, mindfulness, and guided meditation sessions are available for all ages, individuals, educational organizations, sports teams, and corporate groups (for example: office yoga & relaxation techniques).

See our “current programs & events” page for more information!


Educator Mentoring

Help with integrating holistic education into established curriculum and baseline curriculum writing for pre-k through grade six

Homeschool Groups

Although much of our tribe is comprised of homeschooled children from different areas, we can also provide holistic education programs for established homeschool groups

Teambuilding and Leadership Training

Development and facilitation of school and corporate orientation programs, individualized/tailored group programs, and programs specifically for sports teams